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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Brennan Jackson (DE – Washington St.)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Brennan Jackson (DE – Washington St.)

FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at Washington St. defensive end Brennan Jackson.

2024 NFL Draft Guide

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Brennan Jackson

Brennan Jackson (DE – Washington St.)

6’4″ – 264 lbs.

Background:

Redshirted, then played sparingly in 2019 before taking over a starting role in the shortened season and finishing with 19-3.5-1.5. Has been starting ever since, with escalating output of 43-6.5-4.5 in 2021, 41-12.0-6.0 in 2022, and 57-12.5-8.5 this past year. Ran back three fumble recoveries for touchdowns this year as well.

Positives:

Has been starting for the past four years, making progress each year. Big edge rusher who carries his weight well, with thick distribution through his body. Plays with a physical, intense temperament; teams should love his energy. Strong in the lower body, with good contact balance; functional strength is going to check virtually every team’s box there. Excellent motor allows him to get out to the sidelines and make tackles in pursuit. Wide tackling radius. Shows some suddenness out of his stance, with good reaction times to the ball being snapped. First step is solid. Has an understanding of how to set up blockers. Violent bull-rusher with excellent churn after contact to walk back opposing blockers. For a bigger defensive end, shows surprisingly good dip and bend off the edge from wide alignments, with a rip move that he works in as well. Nice lateral quickness to shuffle and find lanes to the passer.

Negatives:

On the stiff side for a pro edge. Would like to see more patience and discipline in his game, especially for a four-year starter who spent six years in school. Has a surprisingly penetration-oriented, rush-first approach that creates some opportunities for inside runs. Doesn’t always use his leverage, lapsing into throwing a shoulder too often. Some tendency to overpursue, and doesn’t have the best change-of-direction skills to get back in position. Hand usage as a rusher isn’t the most developed, and is reliant on his initial move, without a deep well of counters to draw from. A bit too much gather in his spin. Coverage duties were limited and doesn’t have an ideal athletic profile for that at the next level.

Summary:

Kind of a strange evaluation in that he has the size and strength of a strongside edge, but is often trying to win the edge from wide alignments as if he were a speed-rusher. That style of play undermines his run fits and doesn’t seem like an ideal role for him at the pro level, even if he has a more explosive first step and more bend than anticipated. If he’s willing to embrace a more disciplined role, could be a good strongside elephant type in a two-gap scheme. Evaluation involves trying to translate his traits into something different from what he did in school, so a wide range of grades seems possible.

Projection: Round 4

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