First, let's all take a second to consider just how cheap that is. San Francisco signed Justin Smith to a 6 year $45 million dollar contract just this offseason. Smith is nearly 29 and had just two sacks last season.
Here's my scouting report. It's my best and most comprehensive expository of LoJack's skills entering the league. At the bottom I've provided an update about how I see Jackson's potential.
Skills are broken down from ++ to --. ++ are complete skills, pro ready. -- are glaring weaknesses, the kind of faults that can fell an otherwise top talent.
Awareness: Smart player. Very rarely fooled by screens or misdirection. Plugs holes, improvises stunts, maintains assignment but able to adjust and adjust correctly. Improves those around him.
Motor: Relentless in pursuit. Willing to chase Dennis Dixon 10 yards though clearly beat. Joins gang tackles. High effort snap to whistle.
First Step: Very good first step, not lightning fast, but enough to consistently gain an advantage. Enough speed to edge rush, but will not consistently challenge the edge.
Frame: Near prototypical build. Good, wide frame, long arms (33 6/8”), good height, high ceiling.
Agility: Smooth fast, moves quickly without “hustling”. Good round and diagonal speed.
Strength: Very powerfully built. Strong legs, strong arms, good core, rarely looks outmatched, rarely washed out of a play.
Hand fighting/Pass Rush Skills: Separates from blockers, doesn’t get “eaten up”. Elusive, moves through and away from garbage. Stays in the play.
Burst: Exploits alleys. When he has a step, explodes to the ball carrier.
Versatility: Played tackle and end.
· Two Gap: Rare pass rushing end that is strong at occupying blockers, holding rushing lanes.
· One Gap: Splits double teams, sheds blockers, gets penetrations and redirects plays. Sometimes gets washed out.
Tackling: Adequate wrap tackler. Doesn’t force many fumbles, but will attempt the strip.
Health: Not that he suffered injuries, only that he seems only marginal at protecting himself in traffic. Takes some spills. Protect your legs, bro.
Summary: When I think about Jackson, the comparison, somewhat oddly, that keeps coming to mind is Victor Martinez. The catcher. Not because they are anything alike athletically, but because both possess a broad base of above average skills. Jackson isn’t terrifically exciting, somewhat workmanlike really, but he’s very well rounded. Given his athleticism and frame, Jackson could easily develop into a very good run/pass defensive end and situational tackle.
Update: I was pretty conservative when I wrote this. I would say now that Jackson's broad base of skills, including precocious awareness and trans-football intelligence, and frame hint at a higher upside than I originally implied. That upside is contingent on how Jackson grows into his body. In my wholly amateur opinion, he has the kind wide/long frame, with smooth/athletic muscle build that should age very well. Compare, for instance, someone like Owen Schmitt who is stocky, lean and cut. Schmitt simply doesn't have a lot of room to fill out, and his muscles are crafted in the weight room. To wit, Jackson looks more Ken Griffey, Jr. less late career Barry Bonds.