The Seminoles will need to replace at least four starters on their offensive line who will be playing in the NFL next season. Cameron Erving and Tre' Jackson rank with the best in the draft class at their respective positions, with the right guard receiving All-American honors. Named one of six semifinalists for the 2014 Outland Trophy, he was selected Atlantic Coast Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week three times this past season – vs. North Carolina State, Syracuse and Notre Dame.
Jackson recorded the top blocking consistency grade among the FSU linemen in nine of 14 games this season, posting an 88.7 percent average with twelve touchdown-resulting blocks. While left tackle Cameron Erving has been hailed for his ability to seal the outside and protect the pocket, many feel that Jackson’s pulling skills and drive blocking were equally important in FSU’s title march.
You will find few to argue the fact that at close to 340 pounds, Tre’ moves like a fullback exploding off the snap to widen rush lanes. He has long, well-developed arms and strong hands to shock and jolt on contact. He has the quickness to make reach blocks and knows how to use his size and power to create space and finish blocks. He is quick to get his hands up and push the defender off the line to maintain the rush lane and flashes excellent upper body power to move people out.
When Jackson stays squat, he generates quick lateral movement. He has the functional change of direction agility to redirect, but sometimes bends at the waist, causing him to struggle some bringing his feet. However, he has enough lateral-slide to get back and protect the pocket. When he fails to sink his hips, the right guard will overextend a bit, but he is quick to recoil and get back on his assignment.
Over the last two years, Jackson has shown very good improvement with his balance and you no longer see him getting narrow in his base or straight-legged. His strength prevents bull rushers from pushing him back into the pocket from the point of attack. Even though he will sometimes tip the scales over 340 pounds, he dropped over fifteen pounds before reporting to the 2015 Senior Bowl and seemed to have developed better flexibility and improved knee bend during scrimmages.
Jackson still needs to do a better job of sinking his hips with consistency, as he knows when he gets his base too narrow that he will have problems sustaining. He understands positioning very well and excels at neutralizing second level defenders. When he moves his feet on contact, he does a better job of wheeling his hips in attempts to control. He has the ability to make reach blocks and knows how to use his size and power to create space and finish blocks.
When Jackson gets too narrow in his stance, he will lose his base at the X’s. In 2014, he seems to be much better at walling off and screening his man from the play. He does have some inconsistency finishing blocks in the past, but he shows great pop on contact and is learning to keep his base wider in order to prevent the defender from shedding. He can drive the man off the ball due to his lower body strength and hand punch, despite not sinking his hips regularly.
Jackson has also become better at using his hands to lock on and steer as a senior (was a former defensive tackle that played guard in high school, but concentrated more on defensive duties). With his punch and anchor skills, he simply mauls his opponent once he gets into the defender’s jersey. He does a good job of extending his arms and sliding his feet to maintain protection on the pocket. When he gets too high in his stance, he can be walked back, though.
The Seminole is an aggressive cut blocker when working in space and has the short area slide to beat his man on stunts. While he continues to work on improving his hip snap, he does an excellent job of locking out vs. the power rush. When Jackson plays on his feet, he can simply dominate and control the action working into the second level. He will revert to lunging when he gets too high in his stance, but will generally hit his target with good force. He does a good job of adjusting on the move and shows the vision and ability to make contact.
Tre’ Jackson NFL Scouting Combine measurable
6-4/330 (5.52 forty)
32 5/8-inch arm length
10 7/8-inch hands
25-inch vertical jump
96-inch broad jump
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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