The Chicago Bears have ranked at the bottom of the league over the past two seasons in the interception category, just 16. The Kansas City Chiefs had 18 along last season. The safety position has been a weak point of the Bears for quiet some time now and it desperately needs improvemt.
Bears GM Ryan Pace signed Quintin Demps this offseason, who had 6 INTs last season. Even though he is on the other side of thirty, the Bears need veterans to surround the younger players.
Demps looks to be a lock at the strong safety position, but the free safety spot is open to competition. With inconsistent play from that position last season, rookie Eddie Jackson could win the job.
Jackson, who is recovering from a season-ending leg injury, is expected to be 100% before the start of training camp which was reported by Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald earlier this month. A captain at the University of Alabama, the Bears fourth-round pick brings leadership qualities, athleticism, and a “business like” mindset to Chicago.
In this article, Thomas Gibbons will look at why Jackson can win the starting spot for Vic Fangio.
Eddie Jackson has unbelievable range.
Jackson’s injury hurt his draft stock. If he did not suffer that brutal leg injury, he would have gone in round one, if anything early second round.
One of his best attributes is his range and by range I mean his ball skills and ability to go get the football. In his four seasons at Alabama, Jackson had nine interceptions, six coming in 2015. Jackson is natural at his position, and playing corner-back his first two years under Nick Saben helped for the easy transition to safety.
Jackson fits the “center-fielder” type player in today’s NFL. With his range, the Bears will be able to use him as the deep free safety in Cover 3. With what we saw at Alabama, he is up for the challenge. He comes downhill with a purpose and fits the ” ball hawk” definition. It’s in the tape. Jackson can change the culture of the defense with his play making ability, something the Bears desperately need.
Jackson will standout over the rest of the current safeties
Jackson is a raw talent with a lot of upside. His college days was just a glimpse of what he can be e as a pro, not only at the safety position but also in the return game.
With training camp fastly approaching, Jackson needs to be completely healthy. If so, I don’t think it will be a question this guy can impact the Bears right away. Looking at the other Bears draft picks, Jackson seems to be the most ” Day 1″ ready.
The safety position has not produced nor been at all consistent the past few seasons in Chicago. That is why many thought Jamal Adams was the best pick for the Bears at No.3. His explosiveness and tackling ability spoke an All-Pro safety for years to come.
If you told me Adrian Amos is going to be the starting FS, I would laugh. In his first two seasons, Amos has no interceptions. Deon Bush appeared in 11 games last season, but did not show any promising signs yet of being a starter for the team. Sure there will be plenty of competition, but Jackson should easily be the most athletic safety at camp.
The Bears said Deiondre’ Hall will practice at both safety and cornerback in OTA’s and so on. Hall has a huge wingspan, which yells cornerback. But his speed is not the greatest, which speaks more of a better fit at safety. In the end, I think it would come down to Hall and Jackson battling for the FS spot. The Bears have seen enough of Amos and Harold Jones-Quartey that unless they have made drastic improvements, they may fall on the depth chart. Jackson should easily be a standout and impress the staff in a hurry. As long as his leg is fully healed, no one will be able to touch him.
The hope is that Jackson fully recovers from his injury and still possesses that speed and athleticism he put on display at Alabama. And so far all signs point to that happening. Pace traded up in the fourth round to grab him. And to go along with all his standout athletic abilities, Jackson is a leader. A captain at Alabama is not chosen by a flip of a coin. And even after being sidelined last season, his leadership from the sideline became an inspiration to his teammates.
You need to have character and a leader to play in the NFL. Some are natural at it, and some are not. It’s important. You need a guy who will communicate with his teammates on and off the field. And Jackson fits that category 100%.
Overall, Jackson has the best chance as anyone to win a starting job. His combination of athleticism and leadership will standout in the opening days of camp, I guarantee it. I really liked the pick and excited to see what Jackson does in his rookie campaign.