Alabama in the Pros

Former Tide safety Eddie Jackson having an NFL All-Pro type season

© Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing but love is going on in Chicago. 

Fans of the Bears’ franchise are enjoying a team that not only leads the NFC North, but is also playing inspired football.

Under first-year head coach Matt Nagy, the monsters of the Midwest are on the verge of making the playoffs at 7-3 and while most would credit linebacker Khalil Mack for its success on defense, there is a fourth-round pick that has been amazing too. 

For a young safety, Eddie Jackson is producing numbers that may one day have him inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Through 26 regular season games – two seasons – he has collected 108 total tackles, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, five interceptions and four defensive touchdowns.

The 6-foot, 202-pound ball magnet totals three picks, six pass breakups and two scores this season, while registering 35 tackles. Since entering the National Football League in 2017, Jackson has the most defensive scores of any other player. 

With him anchoring the back end, Chicago is third in total defense (314.4 ypg) and fourth in the league in scoring defense (19.5 ppg). Jackson captains a secondary that has rendered the lowest passer rating for quarterbacks at 79.4, along with forcing a league-high 18 interceptions.  

Hailing from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Jackson was one of Nick Saban’s more instinctive defensive backs during his time at the University of Alabama. Despite being recruited at cornerback, one of the underrated members of the Crimson Tide’s 2013 signing class became a valuable safety.  

Of his nine career interceptions, eight came with him at safety.  

Jackson’s breakout season in a new role happened in 2015, upon making the switch to safety under secondary coach Mel Tucker. He tallied a team-high six picks that season – including returning two for touchdowns in Alabama’s wins over Georgia and Texan A&M. 

He would post a critical takeaway in the first College Football Playoff title game versus Clemson, picking off Deshaun Watson to assist the Tide in earning a 45-40 victory. 

If not for a season-ending leg injury against Texas A&M in 2016, Jackson more than likely would have been a first-round selection. Chicago drafted a steal in the fourth round and the 25-year-old has made its front office look like a genius every time he takes the field on Sundays. 

Jackson will lead the Bears against Detroit on Thursday for some Thanksgiving action.

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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