The Colts went defense again for a consecutive pick, as they selected Western Kentucky’s Andrew Jackson with their 6th round pick (#203). While the Colts are presumably set at starting ILB with D’Qwell Jackson and Jerrell Freeman, Jackson could seriously challenge LB’s Josh McNary and Kelvin Sheppard for the immediate depth chart spot and playing time behind them. More than likely though, he will make his biggest contributions to the team in 2014 on special teams to start his new NFL career.
From all indications, it sounds like he’s built like a tree stump and like former Patriots’ ILB (now Buffalo Bill), Brandon Spikes, is strictly a two-down run stuffer at this point in his young career. Here’s what we know about Jackson:
“A stout, physical, downhill thumper with eventual-starter potential inside a 3-4 front where he’s protected and able to attack the ball. However, suspect character and work ethic make him a risky investment, and he’d be best served in a locker room with a strong veteran presence.” –Nolan Nawrocki, NFL.com
“A two-star LB recruit, Jackson was offered by Florida A&M and some other FCS-level schools, but his only FBS-level offer was from Western Kentucky.
After barely seeing the field as a true freshman, he emerged as a defensive leader as a sophomore in 2011, leading the team with 109 tackles, 17.0 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Jackson had his best season as a junior in 2012 with 122 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks, but took a slight step back as a senior as his production dipped across the board.
He is a thumping tackler with a fiery demeanor, but needs to stay under control and play smart. Jackson has a productive resume for the next level and carries himself with the intensity needed at the next level, but the tight joints, overaggressive style and loose cannon persona will push him down several draft boards . Projects as a possible back-up and special teams standout.” –Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com
“Jackson (6-foot-0 1/2, 265 lbs) looks and plays a lot like former Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker, Levon Kirkland. Jackson –who runs a 4.8 second 40-yard dash– is a real thumper. He is very good against the run, registering 122 tackles last year including 15 1/2 for a loss. The question for Jackson is if he can play all four downs in the NFL.” –Gil Brandt, NFL.com
“He was very productive during his career at Western Kentucky. He made big plays as well, and when we makes a tackle, he puts all his weight – that 260 pounds – behind it. Doesn’t always break down in space, but he’s fairly light on his feet for a kid his size. You’re not going to make a living in the NFL making stops in lateral pursuit at 260. But between the tackles, as that run-stopper, he can make big plays.” –Mel Kiper Jr, ESPN