Brad Menendez | Dec 15, 2018 | 0
Is Justin Jackson a One Hit Wonder?
As a B1G Ten fan, I’d seen plenty of Justin Jackson over his four years at Northwestern, and I am a believer. In his collegiate career, Jackson never ran for less than 1,187 yards, which was his total in his freshman year. He has solid hands, adding 122 catches, 858 yards, and a touchdown as well during that four-year run.
When the Chargers drafted him in the 7th round, first I was shocked he fell that far, I thought he was a better prospect than plenty of the names called before. I was also surprised because the Chargers have Gordon and Ekeler, who are both good if not great at what they do. When you compare RAS scores, coming out of college Gordon and Jackson were identical 8.86 scores, and that’s not the only number they have in common. Both ran a 4.52 40 time, though Jackson had a better Vertical and 3 cone drill, Gordon put up better numbers on the bench press and 20 split.
What does all of that matter once you get between the lines? Not much, though we saw in relief of Gordon this week, in a huge match-up against the Steelers, Jackson stole the show. 8 carries for 63 yards and a touchdown plus a 19-yard catch really shows some spark for the 7th round rookie, especially in such a big game. Most likely LA makes the playoffs regardless but they needed a game like that, to go into Pittsburgh down their top running back you’d expect to see that be the difference in the game but Jackson filled in admirably, and will inevitably have people wondering if he’s the heir-apparent if they choose not to re-sign Gordon.
Looking at Gordon’s contract numbers, he is signed through 2019 but after this year there is no dead cap if they break ties with Gordon. Now I’m not saying they do that, especially after 1 game but what I am saying is keep that in mind if you are looking to make a move for Gordon. Up until last year, people were trying to label Gordon mostly a bust, and Jackson could be an affordable replacement option if they choose to go that path. I’ll never say I know what an NFL GM is thinking but I will say that Jackson at least passed the eye test in this tiny sample size, enough so that they will trust him to fill in again, even as early as this next week if Gordon can’t return healthy, or if they choose to rest him for a playoff run.
I took the initiative and stashed Jackson on any taxi squad I could, on the off chance that he gets the chance to carve out a bigger role, and after that huge game in Pittsburgh, he did just that.