All offseason we’ve heard about a safety for the Chicago Bears that is on the cusp of being an elite NFL player, whom is also a top 100 player, and also an All-Pro, but that player didn’t make my 10 Most Important Bears’ list this year.
Don’t get me wrong, I do think Adrian Amos is a good football player, and I’d like to see him stick around a few more years in Chicago, but the safety that made my list has the potential to be a star.
Eddie Jackson was one of the top rookies in the NFL last year, and I’m expecting big things form him in 2018.
As a rookie with the Bears in 2017, Jackson flashed the ball skills and playmaking ability that garnered him a first-team All-SEC award as a junior in 2015. A broken leg as a senior in 2016 led to him falling down in the NFL Draft, and the Bears we’re fortunate to nab him in the fourth round.
Jackson wasn’t able to fully participate last year in the Bears offseason program because of that broken leg, but this year the second year pro is raring to go. “It’s very different,” Jackson said via the Chicago Tribune. “You get to know the schemes better. You learn how to break down film better and really have that knowledge of the game, especially after playing (as a) rookie. I’m ready to come in and work, and (I) am really excited for the season.”
Here are a couple breakdowns of his play from last season.
Eddie Jackson is already making plays for Chicago. His ability to process where the ball is going and explode there out of click is special. pic.twitter.com/W41FA9Wqd6— Ethan Young (@EthanYoungFB) October 16, 2017
#TeachTapeTuesday via #Bears S Eddie Jackson (@EJackson_4) showing patience in his backpedal to maintain leverage + click/close for the PBU from off-man coverage: pic.twitter.com/H61N6tCFQC— The Scouting Academy (@TheScoutAcademy) February 20, 2018
The Bears return all four starters in the secondary this year, along with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and his defensive staff, and that continuity will help them.
I actually think the pairing of Jackson with Amos really helped Amos have his break out year last year. Jackson’s ability to cover and play a center-field role allowed Amos to be the hammer.
Last year on defense, Jacoson had 70 tackles, one tackle for loss, two interceptions, six passes defended, one forced fumble, and three fumble recoveries. He also led the Bears with 1,184 total snaps, which was 99.7% of the snaps on defense and 30.6% snaps on special teams.
The Bears haven’t had a safety pick off more than two passes since 2014 when Ryan Mundy snagged four. I think Jackson, with a better understanding of the defense, will eclipse that mark.