NASHVILLE – Security Theo Jackson took his first steps towards a possible NFL profession over the weekend.
The very fact he is already been a Star ought to solely assist his trigger.
In Jackson’s fifth and closing 12 months on the College of Tennessee, a brand new defensive coordinator Tim Banks carried out a 4-2-5 scheme that consisted of two defensive tackles, two defensive ends, two linebackers, two cornerbacks and two safeties.
The eleventh defensive place was referred to as the Star, and it was a hybrid mixture of all the pieces however defensive position.
“You are actually a security, a nook and a linebacker in that scheme, so you have actually simply bought to be powerful, bought to be sensible and quick,” Jackson mentioned Saturday on the Tennessee Titans’ rookie orientation. “So it is actually simply… you have to be a ballplayer.”
The function turned out to be good for the 6-foot-1, 198-pound Jackson, a Nashville native and Overton Excessive graduate who exploded statistically in his closing season with the Vols.
Enjoying all around the protection, Jackson – who’d began a mixed 12 video games in his first 4 seasons – began 12 in 2021, stuffing the stat sheet with profession highs of 78 tackles, 9 tackles for loss (tied for first amongst SEC defensive backs ) and 12 move break-ups (second within the SEC).
What made him such a very good match on the Star spot?
“I already had the dimensions,” Jackson mentioned. “That form of took care of itself. After which I added the velocity, so being sensible and realizing what’s coming and who I am going in opposition to, that form of helped me out.”
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These have been a number of the qualities the Titans discovered so interesting in Jackson, because the group was seeking to substitute Dane Cruikshank, a jack-of-all-trades defensive again who was typically requested to cowl opponents’ tight ends. That function will include loads of challenges this 12 months, contemplating the Titans are scheduled to see tight ends like Kansas Metropolis’s Travis Kelce, Las Vegas’ Darren Waller, Dallas’s Dalton Schultz, Buffalo’s Dawson Knox and Philadelphia’s Dallas Goedert amongst others.
“It do not actually matter to me,” Jackson mentioned. “That is simply the DB inside me. I do not actually care who I am going in opposition to. It is me versus him, so I’ll do my method, he will do his. (We’re) actually simply out right here taking part in ball.”
Along with Jackson’s play for the Vols final season, his efficiency on the Titans’ native Professional Day on April 8 impressed his hometown franchise.
On an uncharacteristically chilly and wet day, Jackson nonetheless introduced the vitality.
“I loved assembly him when he got here for the native day … simply appreciated his angle,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel mentioned. “It was actually cool to have the ability to see him right here for that day and go to with him, watch him work out. It wasn’t like he was averse to figuring out. He got here and labored out within the rain.”
Stated Jackson: “Oh, I do not care what sort of climate it’s. Good work is sweet work anyplace, in order that’s simply the mentality that I’ve. If I am unable to go, I am unable to go. But when I can, I’ll.”
Jackson mentioned he left the exercise that day considering he’d made a very good impression on the Titans, however knew he needed to play a ready sport. He was grateful when he bought the cellphone name on April 30, simply earlier than the Titans chosen him within the sixth spherical – 204th general.
In his second day of rookie minicamp, Jackson produced the observe’s most memorable second, stepping in entrance of a Malik Willis move and making the session’s solely interception. He got here very near a second decide as nicely, only a fraction of a second too late breaking on a Willis move to Treylon Burks over the center.
Maybe we should not be stunned Jackson is already flashing amongst his fellow rookies.
The person has, in spite of everything, already been a Star.