The Buccaneers need to address offensive line help - that’s no secret. But they may do it multiple times over the course of the draft. And although many believe that Tampa Bay will address right tackle on the first night, the idea of them addressing depth throughout the rest of the process.
Part of that depth is along the interior of the offensive line. Although Alex Cappa stepped up last season and Ryan Jensen seems to finally be hitting a groove after a shaky start in 2018, there isn’t a lot of help beyond the starting five.
Taking a look at a guy like Jonah Jackson on day three may be what the Bucs need.
Jonah Jackson’s Collegiate Career
Jonah Jackson committed to Rutgers after being a standout player at high school in Pennsylvania. It wasn’t quite what he envisioned, red shirting his first year then playing sporadically the next two years - including missing six games due to injury. While at Rutgers, Jackson was an intricate part of an offensive line that was ranked second in the Big Ten, allowing just 1.33 sacks per game.
As a Junior, Jackson started eleven straight games and was named captain. Following a strong season, Jackson transferred to fellow Big Ten rival Ohio State for his final year of eligibility. Jackson started every game for the Buckeyes in his only season with them, having been named to the First Team All-Big Ten.
At 6’4”, 305lbs, Jackson is the solid, prototypical size for a lineman. Compare that to Ali Marpet (6’4”, 306lbs) and Alex Cappa (6’6”, 304lbs) and you have someone that is nearly a cookie cutter version of the size the Bucs already boast in the interior.
Jackson’s versatility is extra enticing. Jackson spent as many games at left guard as he did at right guard, showing his ability to fill in on either side when called upon and with equal effectiveness regardless of position.
Coming from the Big Ten, there’s a certain level of nastiness you have to possess to make it as a linemen in that conference - let alone to be a starter for two teams and a captain for one. In the NFL, you need that level of nasty to be effective.
Jackson is strong in pass protection with a propensity to finish off his opponent. His quick hands and strong base allows him to gain - and re-gain - leverage when facing off against defenders. His 33.5 inch arms help him maintain leverage and keep defenders away as he can read and react to their attempts to get past him.
His run blocking needs a lot of work. Jackson seems to have trouble maintaining his broad base when run blocking, causing his running back to be swallowed up quickly. His tendency to keep his pad level high results in losing leverage during run blocking as well. He tends to stand straight up rather than exploding out of his stance and blocking right away. That split second proves to be the difference a lot of times.
Jackson also seems to have some issues with his footwork being on the same page with the rest of his body. At times this causes Jackson’s technique to look sloppy and unrefined. It’s a fixable issue, but something that causes him to be looked at as a day three type of guy.
Why The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Need Jonah Jackson
It goes back to the depth issue. The Buccaneers need some help behind that starting five and Jackson’s versatility and raw talent is enough to take a strong look at bringing him in. If the current coaching staff can build him up and improve on some of his deficiencies, Jackson could prove to be a big steal on day three of the draft for Bruce Arians and his crew.
With only Zack Bailey, Aaron Stinnie, and Anthony Fabiano behind Marpet and Cappa - and no one currently behind Jensen - Jackson can be a utility man on the Bucs’ depth chart and fill in at any of the three interior positions that may be voided due to injury.
With an emphasis on protecting Tom Brady, Jackson fills that role well right out of the gate. However, with additional emphasis on building on the run game, that’s where Jackson needs the most work and a potentially shortened off-season may hinder the staff’s ability to bring Jackson up to speed during his rookie campaign.
Any depth guy the Bucs bring in or any day three guy that they draft is going to have some flaws. Otherwise, they would be drafted sooner and as a starter. Bringing in someone of Jackson’s caliber as far as his pass protection is concerned would be a big boost to the overall landscape of Tampa Bay’s offensive line.
Should It Happen?
As far as the “best player available” mantra or strategy when it comes to the developmental state of day three draft picks, Jonah Jackson may be one of the better options for the Buccaneers. Again, he has some work to do but there isn’t a whole lot there that can’t be fixed via coaching. Jackson could be a huge steal for whatever team he is drafted by if he can elevate his run blocking and footwork. He has strength, he has instincts, he has a high football I.Q., it’s just a matter of getting his body to do what his brain tells him he needs to.
Let your thoughts on Jonah Jackson known in the comment section or in the poll below as to whether or not you’d like this former Buck to become one of the newest Bucs.
How Do You Feel About Jonah Jackson for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
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Draft Him No Matter What
Trade Back Candidate
I Wouldn’t Mind It
There Are Better Options