When you’re compared to a player that has nine Pro Bowls, five First Team All-Pros, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame on his resume, it’s safe to say that expectations are pretty high for Chicago Bears third year pro, Eddie Jackson.
“From a talent standpoint? Very, very similar,” Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said via the Chicago Sun Times when discussing the similarities between Jackson and class of 2019 Hall of Famer, Ed Reed.
Pagano should know as he coached Reed for four years with the Baltimore Ravens. During this offseason’s OTAs and minicapms, Pagano was impressed with what he saw from Jackson. “Great instincts. Great range. Great ball skills. He’s only three years into it,” Pagano said about Jackson. “Ed has a lot more time on task, obviously. He’s got a lot of the same traits. He loves football. He’s a football junkie. And again, the sky’s the limit for a guy like that.”
The Bears will be running a slightly different scheme than what they did under Vic Fangio the last few years, but the terminology isn’t undergoing a drastic change. However there will still be a learning curve for Jackson, and the other Bear defenders, but Jackson has always prided himself on being coachable.
When talking about the sacrifices he had to make to go from a three-star high school wide receiver to an Alabama defensive back under legendary coach Nick Saban, Jackson said, “I didn’t just have to learn how to be a defensive back; I had to learn how to be a coachable human being.”
He’s a good but not “elite” athlete, but he’s incredibly instinctual on the football field, and that’s helped along by how cerebral he is about the game. More from Pagano;
“When you know the defense and you know what you’re doing and then you can spend all your time figuring out the offense and being one step ahead, that’s where he’s got an edge on everybody. He’s very similar to Reed.”
Jackson is coming off his first All Pro selection in only his second season, whereas Reed’s first All Pro nod wasn’t until year three. And no, I’m not saying Jackson is on pace to be better that Reed, but I’m not saying he can’t be either. For now Jackson is not only chasing individual history, as he climbs the Bears record books, but he’s chasing greatness as he openly talks about his team making the Super Bowl. “Our goal right now is for the defense to be No. 1 across the board,” Jackson told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “Shouts out to the ‘85 Bears, but we want to top everything they’ve done.”
Jackson’s stellar play and leadership are why he’s number six on my Most Important Bears of 2019 list.