Eddie Jackson, SS, Alabama: 2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Eddie Jackson 2017 NFL Draft
Eddie Jackson 2017 NFL Draft /

Player Summary

Eddie Jackson, a 2013 three-star recruit, started 37 of 41 career games for Alabama. After playing two years at cornerback, he made the transition to strong safety prior to the 2015 season. Injuries limited his time on the field as he tore his ACL in April of 2014, but only missed the season opener. He also missed the final seven games of the 2016 season after suffering a broken leg.

Jackson finished his college career with 130 tackles, nine interceptions and 12 pass breakups. He possesses solid size and speed on an athletic frame with very good athletic ability.


Height: 6’0”

Weight: 194 lbs

Games Watched

2016: Tennessee, Texas A&M, USC

2015: Clemson, LSU


From zone coverage, Eddie Jackson reads the quarterback well on straight drop backs and utilizes fluid hips and very good athletic ability to change directions. He aggressively attacks receivers entering his zone and will make them pay for going over the middle of the field.

When playing man coverage, Jackson mirrors the receiver well and forces tight windows for the quarterback to place the football.

Regardless of the coverage, Jackson thrives when the ball is in the air. He demonstrates solid tracking skills and explosiveness to the point of attack. The former high school wide receiver displays elite ball skills from the safety position as he high points the ball well with very good hands to haul in the interception or breakup the pass.

In the play below, Jackson baits Clemson QB Deshaun Watson into throwing an interception. He initially covers the inside receiver, but reads Watson and recognizes the route being run by the running back. He comes off his man and displays solid play speed to get to the ball and make a play.

Once the ball is in his hands, Jackson displays very good awareness as he follows his blocks to maximize return yards. Three of his nine interceptions were returned for a touchdown.

Against the run, Jackson does a good job of constricting running lanes and forces the ball carrier to change directions laterally. The following play is an example of this as Jackson gets downhill quickly and steps into the open lane. He takes on the fullback and prevents Leonard Fournette from bursting through the hole. Fournette has to take the play to the outside, where the Alabama defense is waiting and drops him for a loss.

When blocked, Jackson disengages well and continues toward the play. He displays solid play strength to win one-on-one battles against the ball carrier, with good open field tackling skills to finish the play.

Jackson exhibits very good mental toughness as he plays with a short memory and won’t let a bad play affect him afterwards.

Position versatility is also a strength for Jackson and is something NFL teams will consider during the draft. He began his career at Alabama as a cornerback before moving to safety. While he’s a much better prospect at safety, he can fill in at CB on an emergency basis. He also returned punts for the Crimson Tide and could make an immediate impact on special teams.


Eddie Jackson can be fooled by play action and read-options as he struggles to diagnose the play quickly as a result of adequate mental processing skills. On this play, Texas A&M runs a read-option with quarterback Trevor Knight keeping the football. Jackson does not read the play correctly and Knight blows by him before Jackson realizes who has the football.

Jackson’s aggressiveness can get the best of him at times, limiting his range. To overcome his marginal range, Jackson will take poor angles to the football as he attempts to make up ground. Opponents were able to take advantage of this on multiple occasions throughout his career. Below are two examples of this as the play against Clemson highlights his marginal range and the LSU play shows him taking an aggressive, but poor angle to the ball. Both resulted in big gains.


Overall, Eddie Jackson is a backup strong safety in the NFL who wins with athletic ability and ball skills. He’s not someone who should be asked to play as a single high safety. Based on his strengths, Jackson is very versatile in the types of coverages he can excel in, however Cover 1 or Cover 2 could present problems if he’s one of the defenders asked to stay deep. That’s where many of his weaknesses were exposed as defenses took advantage of his over aggressiveness and marginal range.

Jackson may begin his career as a backup, however he is someone who can become a starter in the NFL early in his career. Staying healthy will be critical for Jackson to move up the depth chart as he has already suffered two major injuries in college. If Jackson is going to make an impact as a rookie, expect it to be on special teams, whether as a returner or another member of the unit.