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D'Marco Jackson NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for Appalachian State LB

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor I

HUNTINGTON, WV - SEPTEMBER 19: Appalachian State Mountaineers linebacker D'Marco Jackson (52) reacts after being called for pass interference during the third quarter of the college football game between the Appalachian State Mountaineers and the Marshall Thundering Herd on September 19, 2020, at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, WV. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

HEIGHT: 6'0 3/4"

WEIGHT: 233

HAND: 9 1/4"

ARM: 32 1/2"

WINGSPAN: 6'5 7/8"

40-YARD DASH: 4.55

3-CONE: DNP

SHUTTLE: DNP

VERTICAL: 33"

BROAD: 10'5"

POSITIVES

— Great speed. Can play sideline-to-sideline and capitalize in space as a blitzer.

— Above-average change of direction.

— Flashes ability to trigger early and shoot through a gap into the backfield against the run.

— Quick and flexible enough to make himself a tough target for blockers to get hands on in space.

— Reliable tackler. Wraps up consistently and runs through the ball-carrier.

NEGATIVES

— False steps too often against the run. Prone to ending up behind plays and needing to rally late for tackles.

— Below-average ability to take on blocks at the second level. Can only win through finesse.

— Poor in tight scrums and against contact. Cannot generate push; size and strength are both a concern.

— Coverage is a question mark. Uncomfortable with dropping into zones and being aware of what is behind him.

2021 STATISTICS

14 G, 119 TOT, 20 TFL, 6 SK, 1 FF, 1 INT, 5 PBU

NOTES

— Two-and-a-half year starter at Appalachian State.

— 2020 second-team and 2021 first-team All-Sun Belt.

OVERALL

D'Marco Jackson is a run-of-the-mill speed linebacker who is best suited to play "Will" in the NFL.

In App State's defense, Jackson often aligned to the field to take advantage of his speed and comfort playing in space. His best plays tend to come when he trusts his instincts against the run right away, particularly against zone, and sprints into the backfield. Though not as flashy, Jackson also does a decent job falling back behind defensive linemen when necessary and fitting into the open gap.

However, Jackson lacks the size and strength to hold up as an NFL 'backer. Not only does his smaller stature and poor strength pose issues, but he rarely shows the energy and physicality to take on blocks anyway, regardless of size. Jackson will get consumed by blockers both at the line of scrimmage and at the second level.

Jackson's struggles against blocks are made worse by his inconsistent vision against the run game, which often leads to him stepping the wrong way with his first step and falling behind the play. Coverage is also a question mark aside from rallying to tackle what is in front of him, though he does have the speed to develop into something more in that regard. Jackson provides far more value on third down as a blitzer at this time.

Jackson's speed and reliable tackling should make him a core special teamer right away. He just lacks the ability to hold up between the tackles right now and is not good enough in his gap-shooting, run-and-chase mold to make up for that yet.

GRADE: 6.1 (High-level developmental prospect - 5th round)

OVERALL RANK: 215

POSITION RANK: LB20

PRO COMPARISON: Duke Riley

Written by B/R NFL Scout Derrik Klassen