Jackson was set to start in the Dolphins’ season opener against the Pats. In his place, the ‘Fins will likely turn to Greg Little. Barring any setbacks, Jackson should be eligible to play in Week 2 when the Dolphins face the Bills.
Jackson was the second of three Round 1 choices that the Dolphins had in 2020. He was thrown into the fire right away and showed promise at times, despite a mid-season foot injury. However, it hasn’t been a stellar summer for him. Positive test aside, the Dolphins’ recent acquisition of Little signaled shaky confidence in the USC product.
The Dolphins have placed left tackle Austin Jackson on IR due to a foot injury he suffered during Sunday’s loss to the Seahawks, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports (via Twitter). Although the rookie LT would be eligible to return after three weeks under the modified rules for 2020, Barry Jackson says in a full-length piece that head coach Brian Flores was non-committal when asked if Austin Jackson would be back this season.
Indeed, Flores said the team is looking for a “long-term replacement” for Austin Jackson, so it sounds as if the USC product very well may miss the rest of the year. Though Miami has several options, Barry Jackson suggests that Julie’n Davenport — who filled in for Austin Jackson during the Seattle game and played well — might have the first crack at the LT job.
Austin Jackson was the second of three first-round choices that the Dolphins had in this year’s draft. He was thrown into the fire right away, and he acquitted himself reasonably well. He had not allowed a sack this season, and he recently earned praise from his position coach.
“Austin has had a great start to this season,” offensive line coach Steve Marshall said earlier this week. “He’s learning every time he’s going out there. I’m very excited for his future. He can be a heck of a pro offensive left tackle.”
Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics considered Austin Jackson to be a below-average performer in terms of both run-blocking and pass-blocking, but he has certainly shown enough flashes to justify Marshall’s enthusiasm. One wonders if Austin Jackson’s absence will have any bearing on Flores’ decision as to when to insert rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa into the starting lineup.
To take Austin Jackson’s place on the roster, the Dolphins have promoted rookie running back Salvon Ahmed from the practice squad. As Barry Jackson observes (via Twitter), the team has liked what it has seen from the UDFA, though he will be joining a crowded RB depth chart.
The Dolphins agreed to terms with the second of their three first-round picks. Tackle Austin Jackson signed his rookie deal, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.
This unusual offseason has seen teams drag their feet on rookie agreements, but the Dolphins are barreling ahead. They have signed both Jackson and Tua Tagovailoa and also agreed to terms with second-round pick Raekwon Davis. Jackson is only the third 2020 first-rounder to sign, joining Tagovailoa and Panthers defensive lineman Derrick Brown.
Both Jackson and Tagovailoa can be categorized as developmental projects who may be eased into work in the pros. Miami used the No. 18 overall pick on Jackson, who has yet to turn 21. Jackson was a two-year starter at USC and projects as Miami’s long-term option at left tackle. While he will not be Tagovailoa’s blind-side protector, with Miami’s QB-in-training being a southpaw, Jackson still represents a significant investment for the Dolphins.
The Jackson pick came less than a year after the Dolphins traded 2016 first-round pick Laremy Tunsil to Houston. Tunsil is now the league’s highest-paid tackle by a wide margin. Jackson’s $13.6MM slot deal runs through 2023, with the team holding an option to extend it through 2024.
The Dolphins have been active in signing picks. Although their third first-rounder — No. 30 overall selection Noah Igbinoghene— remains unsigned, the Dolphins need only to sign he and second-round O-lineman Robert Hunt to wrap up their draft class.
“USC has truly been such a special place to call home for the last three years,” wrote Jackson. “Thank you to the boys on this team. I couldn’t imagine a better group to have played with. It’s been an honor to be a part of this incredible Trojan brotherhood and to go to war with you guys every day.
“With that shared, I will be foregoing my senior year to pursue my lifelong dream of playing in the NFL.”
Despite undergoing offseason surgery, Jackson earned All-Pac-12 first team honors during his final season at USC. This performance helped boost his draft stock, as the left tackle is expected to be selected at some point during the first two rounds. Kartje notes that some scouts consider Jackson a bit of a project, but his size and athleticism will make him a commodity.
Kartje writes that USC is still awaiting word on the status of junior wideout Tyler Vaughns, who’s been debating staying or declaring. Vaughns finished this past season with 74 receptions for 912 yards and six touchdowns.