Defensive end Drake Jackson might not have been able to find his way into the first round of the draft, but that isn’t impacting the 49ers’ view of what he can mean to the team’s defense.
General Manager John Lynch discussed his vision for Jackson during an appearance on KNBR this week. Lynch said “we think the ceiling is extremely high” with Jackson and that he can have the same kind of impact playing across from Nick Bosa that Dee Ford did when he was healthy during the 2019 season.
Ford remains under contract, but has missed 26 games over the last two seasons and the team isn’t expecting any contribution from him this year. That opens a spot they hope Jackson can claim.
“He’s stepping into a really deep and talented group, got a lot of really good players,” Lynch said, via 49ersWebzone.com “But I can tell you what we envisioned when we drafted him. [It] was that we’ve been at our best when Dee Ford was healthy. I know it hasn’t been much, but when Bosa was rolling, and Dee was opposite of him, we were pretty tough to deal with. We’ve been tough to deal with without Dee as well, but when you have a guy with the ability that Drake has, and that ability is immense, we see something special there. How fast that comes, to what extent, how much he plays, will he play early? I think a lot of that just comes down to how far he can come, how quickly.”
The 49ers will open their rookie minicamp on May 13 and Jackson will get a chance to show he can fill the role that Lynch envisions for him right out of the gate.