Wildly underrated USC Edge Drake Jackson gets drafted by strong DE/OLB factory

Drake Jackson, USC Football, USC Trojans
Drake Jackson, USC Football, USC Trojans / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Incredibly talented USC Football Edge Drake Jackson was selected in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. He was taken with the 61st overall pick. Jackson was expected by many draft experts to be a first round pick his entire career at SC up until this last year, where awful coaching throughout his time at SC caught up to him.

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Jackson dealt with two horrendous defensive coordinators while at USC in Clancy Pendergast (fired while Jackson was at SC), and Todd Orlando (fired immediately after Jackson's last year at SC). In fact, Orlando was so bad that he had Jackson drop back into coverage consistently when that's not his position at all. He's an Edge rusher.

Luckily, that's what he was drafted as, and the 49ers got a first round talent in the back of the second. It's truly a win-win situation, as the 9ers have a strong history of developing Defensive Ends and Outside Linebackers on the edge. That's a strength that has not tailed off at all in recent years as well.

USC Football Edge Drake Jackson will thrive in San Francisco.

Whether the Defensive End/Outside Linebacker plays just one of each position, or if they're a hybrid Edge like USC Football's Drake Jackson, they tend to always succeed in San Francisco. In fact, in the last ten years, SF has rostered three First-Team All-Pro Defensive Ends and Outside Backers (Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, and Fred Warner) as well as a multiple-time Pro Bowler in Edge Nick Bosa.

Jackson will fit right in, and he's being placed in a spot that truly knows how to get the most out of players at his position. If Jackson could post the third-highest grade in the Pac-12 last year among Edges in a year where he was used egregiously poorly, imagine what he could do with NFL coaching, and NFL coaching that has a reputation of establishing great players at his position.

The last time SC let Jackson rush the passer consistently, he racked up 46 tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss with three PD's and a forced fumble (2019). That was even with an awful developer of talent in Pendergast as his DC. It was also just his TRUE FRESHMAN season. Imagine putting him back on that track to really hone in on his skills as an Edge.

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Jackson was an absolute steal for the 49ers. Dropping in the draft turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as he now heads to one of the best franchises in NFL history, one of the best teams in the NFL of 2021, and a great situation to develop at his true position with real coaching. He certainly didn't have the latter at SC.