The 2018 NFL Draft Prospect series breaks down draft-eligible players, highlighting their college production as well as their NFL potential. Daily fantasy players should know about NFL rookies before they’ve played a down of professional football because they are among the most misvalued assets in all of DFS. People who know NFL rookies have a significant DFS edge. The draft will be held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, from April 26-28.
This piece is on Northwestern running back Justin Jackson.
For more on all the other backs in the class, see our 2018 NFL draft running back rankings.
Updated as of Mar. 4.
Senior | 6’0″ and 199 Pounds | Born April 22, 1996 (Age: 21) | Projection: Rounds 5-7
Combine numbers: 40-yard: 4.52 sec | bench reps: 13 | 3-cone: 6.81 sec | 20-yard shuttle: 4.07 sec | vertical: 38.5 in | broad: 122 in
A four-year starter in the Big Ten, Jackson is unlikely ever to be a lead back in the NFL because of his size, but that should in no way diminish his achievements at Northwestern. His 1,743-yard, 15-touchdown junior season was especially dominant, and over his three final seasons he was like a metronome, steadily grinding out campaigns of 333, 333, and 331 touches. In the best of scenarios, it’s possible that Jackson could put his Felix Jones-esque frame to use as a three-down rotational back in a committee.
Jackson wasn’t particularly impressive in his week of East-West Shrine Game practice, but at Northwestern he did have elite production (6,298 yards and 42 touchdowns in 51 games) and top-tier consistency (four seasons of at least 1,350 yards), so he has potential as a Day 3 prospect. What’s most intriguing about him is his pass-catching ability (122 career receptions), which could help him stick in the league for a while as a change-of-pace and third-down back. He didn’t have a great 40 time, but it also wasn’t bad for his weight, and he had the second-best agility marks at the position.
Photo Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports