The Detroit Lions have an offensive line problem. They can’t seem to find a group that works, and for some reason, they’re letting perfectly good players just walk for no ever-loving reason. All of this made many Lions fans on Twitter fearful that Bob Quinn would forego Jeff Okudah last Thursday for an offensive lineman. A move that would have caused a riot in the streets the likes of which have never been seen.
Fortunately, the Lions didn’t do that. But they did get their guy on Day 2 when they took Ohio State guard Jonah Jackson in the third round of the NFL Draft. Jackson may not have been the best guy available on paper, but there is a familiarity there for the Lions. Matt Patricia and company have already had the chance to coach him in the Senior Bowl and must have seen something they liked.
Sadly, Jackson plays one of the least sexy positions in football. Seriously, I think long snapper is a sexier position, especially in Detroit where long snappers are vampires that never die and stay on the team for thousands of years.
With that in mind, I wanted to get to know Jackson a little better. So I reached out to our pal Matt Tamanini over at Land-Grant Holy Land. He watched Jackson all season last year and he is fully qualified to tell us the kind of player Detroit got in him. Here’s what he had to say.
What are your thoughts on Jackson’s time at Ohio State?
“Despite the fact that Jonah Jackson was only a Buckeye for one season, he made a huge impact on the 2019 Ohio State team. The OSU offensive line had lost four of their five 2018 starters, so Jackson’s experience as an All-Big Ten honoree at Rutgers was very important in solidifying one of the strongest units on the team. He was an incredibly important addition in terms of the skill of OSU’s offensive line, but he was just as important as a leader for the team.
He will end up being a very fondly remembered, one-year wonder for the Buckeyes.”
What are his strengths?
“In his career, he’s played both guard and center, so he will immediately bring some flexibility to the Lions’ line. At OSU, he primarily played guard, and was an aggressive run blocker, often blowing up linebackers at the second level. He is an aggressive blocker, and should be able to hold his own in running situations. “
What are his weaknesses?
“For a guard, he is not the quickest player on the offensive line. Against the best defensive tackles that OSU faced in 2019, he could occasionally get “out-athleted.” He’s not the most physically gifted player in the world; so in some cases, he needs to get by on grit and technique alone.”
The Lions offensive line is in disarray right now. Can Jackson be an effective starter right away? Or is he a project?
“I think that he’s probably in between. He’s likely not going to be a plug-and-play starter who becomes a Pro Bowler in Year 1. However, he will certainly compete for a starting spot as soon as camps eventually open. If he does end up winning a starting spot on the line, I don’t think that there would be any reason to be too worried about that. He is going to work incredibly hard and very well could end up becoming a solid, multi-year starter. While this can probably be said of all NFL draft picks — especially on the offensive line — Jackson will undoubtedly put in the work to get himself acclimated to the NFL game.”