Yes. It’s still early. In fact, it is only two weeks into the preseason. Every season, though, we see a handful of young guys take over in the preseason and refuse to let go of the spot. Last year, for example, Dak Prescott was one of the most proficient quarterbacks in the preseason, and his performance landed him the starting job after Tony Romo went down. This week, after just one preseason game, former Alabama linebacker, Reuben Foster, was named a permanent starter for the 49ers’ defense.
Eddie Jackson could be headed down that same path in Chicago, despite being just a fourth round pick.
While he has not posted any insane stat lines as of yet, Jackson has showed off his supreme athleticism two weeks in a row. Last week, he showed it by way of run support:
— InsideBamaRecruiting (@RTRnews) August 11, 2017
This week, though, he found himself trending on social media with what was almost an ‘Odell Beckham Jr.’-like grab in the endzone. On a pass that was running out of air, he was able to leap backwards and snag it with his right hand.
Unfortunately, Jackson could not retain possession, but the world still took notice:
Eddie Jackson almost OBJ'd that Palmer pass. He was siting right under it the entire time.
— Blake (@SoldierFieldBlg) August 20, 2017
— SammySams ♊ (@SirWinCity) August 20, 2017
The fans calling out for the former Crimson Tide play maker to start week one may be in for a big surprise. Reports surfaced last week that Jackson was receiving first team reps, and that proved true on Saturday night. Football has been a struggle in Chicago over the last handful of seasons, and the Bears would be smart to do whatever they can to re-energize the team.
Jackson was one of the Tide’s best playmakers over the last two years of his career in Tuscaloosa. He missed half of last year with a knee injury, but his 2015 season was one to remember. He picked off six of the balls thrown his way and returned two of them for scores. He was last season’s most explosive punt returners as he averaged an impressive 23.0 yards per return. He returned two of the 11 punts he fielded for touchdowns, including this game-changer against Ole Miss:
Ole Miss 24-17 lead at half. Eddie Jackson's punt return for touchdown to end half. https://t.co/jrSEWm67fp
— Pat Smith (@patsmithradio) September 17, 2016
If healthy, Eddie Jackson has proven to be a difference maker on the defensive side of the ball. What the Bears’ defense has lacked since the Brian Urlacher-era is a true playmaker and energizer. Now, with some promising young players in tow, their fate could be shifting. It remains to be seen how healthy he can be – especially if he continues to be the primary punt returner – but one thing is for certain early in the preseason: Eddie Jackson already has the looks of a solid NFL safety.