Drake Jackson - C, Kentucky
By the numbers:
6'2", 293 pounds. 31" arms per pro day measurements.
2020: Second-Team All-SEC selection.
Drake Jackson's quickness — in all aspects — jumps off the screen on tape. He moves swiftly immediately after the snap, engaging his hands and latching onto opposing tackles. He looks comfortable making reach blocks. His hands remain active in handling a variety of counters. He climbs to the second level of the defense with ease in search of additional work. Jackson slides well, has good lateral agility and is a fluid mover in general.
Intelligence is also a plus for Jackson. He was a three-year starter at Kentucky, and it showed on the field. He's an effective communicator, capable of making presnap adjustments at the line of scrimmage. He does a solid job of keeping his head on a swivel and being aware of his surroundings. Jackson plays with a sturdy base and displays accurate and consistent hand placement. He's technically sound.
A lack of length and size are what's keeping Jackson from being a highly-touted center prospect. His hands and arms both measured poorly at his pro day and his weight is also below average. Despite having good core strength, powerful nose tackles can give Jackson trouble. Depending on his matchup at the next level, he could be at a clear disadvantage at times.
Without any elite traits, Jackson's ceiling is lower than some of the other offensive line prospects in this year's class. He's likely close to realizing his full potential, as his blend of size and athleticism doesn't foster much room for improvement. Jackson has a solid chance of becoming a good professional player, but likely not a great one. That keeps him from being in the same conversation as centers such as Landon Dickerson.
How Jackson fits with the Chiefs:
The Chiefs lost one Austin this free agency period and picked up another. Austin Reiter remains on the open market, and Austin Blythe was brought in on a one-year deal to replace him. An infusion of depth and long-term starting potential is still needed at the center position. Jackson would provide both, as well as the ability to thrive in a zone scheme. He's a solid fit with the team, although he is undersized.
Jackson is a reactive, smart center who should become a productive starter at some point in his career. His arm length and hand size serve as roadblocks but luckily for him, he plays a position that's best suited to withstand that. He's a much better fit in a zone-style offense rather than a power one, and that scheme dependency will mean more for his career trajectory than it will for other linemen. Jackson grades out as a late third-round pick.