Austin Jackson’s character can make him a success for Miami Dolphins

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 26: Austin Jackson #OL25 of the USC Trojans speaks to the media at the Indiana Convention Center on February 26, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) *** Local caption *** Austin Jackson
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 26: Austin Jackson #OL25 of the USC Trojans speaks to the media at the Indiana Convention Center on February 26, 2020 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) *** Local caption *** Austin Jackson /

The Miami Dolphins addressed their biggest area of need when they select Austin Jackson out of USC with the 18th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The 2019 season saw the Miami Dolphins struggle to protect their quarterbacks, with their offensive line considered to be one of the worst in the entire league.

Some free agent additions along with some promising draft selections will hopefully see the team’s fortunes improve dramatically in 2020, with Austin Jackson one of the key pieces added this off-season.

Entering the draft, Jackson was viewed as a supremely talented, athletic, raw out-and-out left tackle prospect, something the Dolphins couldn’t afford to pass up after selecting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth-overall pick.

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Sometimes considered an inconsistent prospect at one of the most important positions on the team, Jackson is a guy that projects to step into the Dolphins’ starting left tackle spot. These inconsistencies will be coached out of him, with his character and work ethic viewed as high qualities that fit head coach Brian Flores‘ philosophy.

Jackson is a high character guy that will take him to the next level with the Dolphins, with his commitment to everything he does making him a great addition to the ever-changing culture of the team.

It has been well documented how he donated bone marrow to save his sister’s life prior to the 2020 season, a factor that saw him slow off the mark early in the year, but what else does Jackson bring to the team that drafted him 18th overall?

Alicia de Artola, the Site Expert for FanSided’s USC website Reign of Troy provided some valuable insight into what kind of person Jackson is.

She commented: “Austin Jackson is an impressive athlete and an even more impressive person. First and foremost, he has a great head on his shoulders.”

“The story of how he donated bone marrow to his sister, requiring him to sit out from football activities for a stretch during the summer of 2019, is an obvious example of his high character.”

She added: “Smaller things also show that in a football sense. One of his teammates tweeted about him holding guys after practice to get more sets in.”

Having the determination to improve his technique and continue to practice, when teammates are heading home, is a quality that Coach Flores will certainly be delighted to work with.

“He’s a well-respected teammate.” – Alicia de Artola

Since joining the Dolphins, Flores has worked hard to instil his philosophy and targeted guys with a certain character has been clear from day one, with a number of players being either traded away or cut if they don’t suit the long-term view of the team.

Jackson, meanwhile, appears to be the perfect player for the team to take. As well as his impressive personality traits, Jackson earned his selection in the first round despite being the youngest tackle in the draft and having what could be considered a ‘down’ season due to his recovery from the bone marrow procedure.

Raw has been the most common word associated with Jackson’s talent, which is something that the coaching staff can certainly work with.

De Artola provided some further insight into the type of player Jackson is, commenting: “From a football perspective things are a bit harder to pin down. Simply put, Jackson is inconsistent, along with USC’s entire offensive line.”

“The battle with AJ Epenesa in the Holiday Bowl is a really good example. He held his own for large stretches, but when he got beat, he got beat badly and it resulted in serious problems for Trojan QB Kedon Slovis.”

She concluded: “The ceiling on Jackson is high, particularly in pass protection. He can be great. The Dolphins will need to coach him up, raising the level of his technique so that breakdowns are less common and less devastating.”

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If the biggest concern for the Miami Dolphins is that Jackson is a raw, somewhat inconsistent player that can be coached out of his mistakes, then it certainly seems as if this pick could pay dividends in the long-term.

Whether or not Jackson takes the starting LT role right out of the gate or not, the Dolphins seem to have a guy they can mould into their own image and provide protection for whoever is under center over the next five-to-ten years.