The Dallas Cowboys will likely address both the wide receiver position and their offensive line within the first couple of days of this month's NFL draft. However, Appalachian State's D'Marco Jackson would make for an intriguing linebacker prospect if he's available on Day 3.
With the early, splashy waves of free agency now in the rearview mirror, it's clear that the Cowboys opted for a conservative approach. While the team has been under fire from its fans as well as former players such as Michael Irvin, the Cowboys have yet to add anyone of substance to the linebacker group. That's not a slight towards Leighton Vander Esch or Luke Gifford, but some fans were likely hoping for Bobby Wagner, a “sexy” signing if you will.
While an expensive free-agent addition is out of the question, Jackson would be a much cheaper option on Day 3 that would carry significant upside.
Why should the Cowboys consider D'Marco Jackson?
Jackson has a total of 52 college games under his belt and has posted some impressive numbers in his career. He has accumulated 33 tackles for a loss since 2019 and also amassed 11.5 sacks during that stretch. He was also second in the Sun Belt Conference with 56 solo tackles last year, taking home the title of 2021 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year due to his remarkable accolades.
At the NFL Combine last month, Jackson ran a 4.55 time in his 40-yard dash, impressing everyone with his speed. Jackson is an impressive downhill runner who possesses excellent instincts and awareness. He regularly showed off his motor in college with his relentless, almost violent streak when playing in the box. His biggest contribution to a Dan Quinn defense will be his run-stopping prowess. Pro Football Focus also agrees with that sentiment, grading him at 84.8 in that department.
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While he won't be expected to be of much use outside of the box, his limitations shouldn't hinder him from becoming a reliable NFL linebacker. Also, he can be used in blitz packages where his aforementioned speed, as well as his ability to effectively neutralize blockers, will serve him well.
As a Day 3 pick, Jackson would be a solid pickup for the Cowboys. Simply put, he is a playmaker from the inside linebacker spot.