2017 NFL DRAFT

Darius Jackson, RB

School: Eastern Michigan  |  Conference: MAC
College Experience: Senior  |  Hometown: Sparta, IL
Height/Weight: 6-0 / 220 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.
202186

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.40--- ----

Player Overview

A year ago it was Central Michigan that produced undrafted free agent turned starting NFL running back Thomas Rawls. This year, it's the Eagles with the sleeper at the position.

Jackson didn't generate a great deal of interest out of high school despite rushing for over 1,000 yards as a senior while splitting duties between quarterback, running back and safety. He also was interested in competing in both football and baseball, which scared off a number of programs - but not the Eagles.

Jackson played mostly a complementary role with the Eagles early in his career, rushing for a total of 508 yards over his first three seasons. He was handed the keys as a senior, however, and exploded for 1,089 yards and a school record 16 total touchdowns.

The real numbers which caught scouts' attention, however, didn't come until Jackson opted to travel to the University of Michigan and work out at their Pro Day. There, he was clocked in the low 4.4s and wowed scouts with his explosiveness, generating a 41" vertical and an 11-1 broad jump.

Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: Looks the part of an NFL athlete with a sculpted frame and excellent size for the position. Shows quick feet and coordination to elude in tight quarters for a back of his size and accelerates in a flash, bursting to and through the line to ruin pursuit angles. Keeps his legs driving on contact and shows good forward lean to pick up extra yards.

Reliable pass-catcher out of the backfield, hauling in 44 catches over his career. Sets up defenders with subtle shoulder fakes and shows burst out of his cuts, generating separation and showing soft hands to easily pluck the ball and secure it quickly. Was asked to line up out of the slot, showing awareness in the passing game.

Competitive, physical blocker. Stood out when competing against top competition, including in 2015 contest against LSU and at Michigan's Pro Day. Characterized by head coach Chris Creighton as one of the team's best practice players.

WEAKNESSES: Only has one season of standout production despite playing for a program that hasn't produced an NFL draft pick since 2009. May be a better athlete than football player, at this time. Too reliant on his burst to get him out of trouble and must show greater willingness to attack the line of scrimmage and get the tough yards.

IN OUR VIEW: Jackson wasn't invited to the Combine, but make no mistake he's a legitimate NFL prospect. Besides the obvious athleticism, scouts like that he's coming from a pro-style offense and comes with relatively little tread worn off the tires. He recorded just 365 touches over his career. Alabama's Derrick Henry, by comparison, had 406 touches in 2015, alone.

--Rob Rang (@robrang) 4/13/16)

 
 
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