The dust has settled on the 2021 NFL Draft. Teams have been given grades for their efforts, but that’s elementary evaluation. Digging deeper into how players performed in college, Drake Jackson was the most underrated player who did not hear his name called last week.
In the aftermath of the draft, Yahoo’s Pete Thamel polled 100 coaches from the 10 FBS conferences to learn who they were most surprised to see fall in the draft. Former Kentucky center Drake Jackson received more mentions “by far” than any of the undrafted players.
“Flip on the film, he had no problem blocking the best defensive linemen in the country week in and week out. If he was a little taller [than 6-foot-2], he’d have been gone in Round 2. I’m shocked that he didn’t get drafted. Great communicator and such a good adjustment maker that I’ve adjusted some things [coaching] based on what he showed me on tape.”
Those comments echo the sentiment shared by his coach. Vince Marrow said Sunday morning that Drake proved enough to get drafted by handling the best the SEC had to throw at him each and every week.
“Drake for four years, definitely 3.5 years, blocked some of the best defensive linemen in the country, and excuse my language, whooped their ass,” Marrow said. “I was a little pissed, but I knew Detroit, Chris Spielman and those guys really wanted him. They just didn’t have a sixth or seventh round pick.”
Jackson certainly has the college credentials. A starter for 3.5 years, as a senior he earned multiple All-SEC accolades after grading at 85.7 percent with 40 knockdowns and 188 blocks at the point of attack. Jackson may not have gotten drafted, but the Detroit Lions got a steal by signing one of the best centers to ever play at UK.