by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Washington State University Athletics.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Washington State, Edge, Brennan Jackson
Name - Brennan Jackson
Pos - Edge
Team - Washington State
HT/WT - 6’4” 264 lbs.
Home - Montgomery, OH
Brennan Jackson lettered three seasons at Great Oak High School in Ohio where played tight end on offense and defensive end on defense. As a junior, he earned second-team All-Southwestern league honors on the defensive line after making 88 tackles, including 10 sacks. During his senior season, he was named first-team defensive line to go along with being named a second-team tight end All-Southwestern league. During the season, he collected 102 tackles and 2 sacks on defense to go along with 18 catches for 340 yards on offense. He was rated 3 stars by ESPN.com, 247Sports.com, and Rivals.com. Jackson committed to play football at Washington State over other schools such as Arizona, California, and Hawaii.
Jackson did not play in a game during the 2018 season and redshirted. In 2019, he appeared in the first 2 games but then injured his leg and missed the last 11 games. During the shortened 2020 season, he played in all 4 games at edge and was named All-Pac 12 Conference Honorable Mention. He finished 4th on the team in tackles with 19 and tied for the team lead with 1.5 sacks.
In 2021, Jackson seemed to hit his stride with the Cougars. He played in 13 games, starting 12 and became an important cog on the defensive line. He finished the season with 43 tackles, 4.5 sacks and an interception. Jackson continued to improve his pass rushing skills and tallied 6 sacks in 2022 to go along with 41 tackles.
Jackson put everything together in 2023 for Washington State. He started all 12 games and set career highs in tackles with 57 and sacks with 8.5.
Jackson has powerful hands that help him to shed at initial engagement. He does a good job of arching out on the edge and then power rushing back inside to get the offensive lineman off balance. He has several different techniques he can use to beat offensive linemen off the snap. He uses a powerful swim move, a bull rush technique and several different twist moves to get the upper hand. He does an efficient job of fighting off blocks and has the speed to track down the ball carrier on the back side. He plays the game hard and a coach will never question his desire to make a play.
However, his game strength needs to be improved. When attacking larger blockers, he can be limited and he struggles to disengage. He does not play with the ideal bend and gets thrown off his base and that leads to losing some power. He does an effective job of pressuring the backfield but needs to finish plays more regularly. He tries to grab and pull down running backs and does not have sufficient tackling techniques. He lacks the length of other top edge prospects and his build carries some limitations in his play. His hustle is undeniable, but he needs to hone it in at times and not play so out of control.
Dorance Armstrong is a comparable player to Jackson. Armstrong was a 4th round pick in 2018 by the Dallas Cowboys out of Kansas. Both players are more athletic than they are technically savvy and the Cowboys were patient with Armstrong in his first 2 seasons. And now, he has blossomed into a pass rushing weapon for Dallas. Jackson will also need some TLC from the team who selects him to reach his full potential.
Hands into offensive lineman’s chest
Several pass rush moves
Plays out of control
Brennan Jackson is a player who continues to improve each season and has added different styles and moves to his pass rushing repertoire. He will be best served as a rotational defensive end used in pass rushing packages. The combine and post-season games will be a way for Jackson to rise up boards. Still, he should be a nice late round addition to an NFL defensive line.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction -5th or 6th round