The Philadelphia Eagles addressed a big need on Monday by reportedly agreeing to terms with free agent defensive tackle Malik Jackson.
In order to better get to know the Eagles’ new interior pass rusher, I thought it’d benefit BGN readers to get a Jacksonville Jaguars perspective on Jackson. In order to do that, I reached out to Ryan O’Bleness of Big Cat Country. Here’s what he had to say.
1 - Can you sum up Mailk Jackson’s stint in Jacksonville?
By all accounts, Jackson’s time in Jacksonville should be looked at as a success. He recorded 6.5 sacks in his first season in Duval, which was a career high at that time. He then bested that the following year in 2017 with eight sacks, and made the Pro Bowl. In 2018, his play dwindled a bit, and he eventually started losing snaps to Marcell Dareus and rookie Taven Bryan. Jackson had a career low 64.4 overall grade in 2018, according to Pro Football Focus, but he still had his moments this past season. He recorded two or more pressures in each of Jacksonville’s final seven games. The Jaguars needed to clear cap space and the writing was just kind of on the wall for his time in Jacksonville due to his large contract (Jackson originally signed a massive six-year, 88.5 million dollar contract with $31.5 million in guarantees). So, I think Jackson still has plenty left in the tank, and I wasn’t surprised at all to see another team swoop him up quickly. If he can get anywhere close to being back to his 2017 form, Eagles fans are going to love him.
2 - How did Jaguars fans react to the team cutting him? Did they want him back?
I think pretty much all plugged-in fans knew that Jackson would be a cap casualty and accepted it. That doesn’t necessarily mean anybody was happy to see him go. The Jaguars were well into the negatives in cap space entering the offseason, and had to cut some big contracts. It’s just the nature of the business, unfortunately. From what I’ve seen on social media and from Big Cat Country commenters since his release was nothing but well wishes for his future. The high majority of Jags fans admired Jackson, and thought he actually played up to his massive contract for the most part. A lot of us are sad to see him go, including myself, but not surprised.
3 - What are Jackson’s strengths?
Jackson is a very good three-technique defensive lineman. His ability to collapse the pocket and be a pass-rusher from the interior of the defensive line is his biggest strength, and that is what has made Jackson such a force. In in three seasons with Jacksonville, he recorded 171 quarterback pressures and 44 quarterback hits and 18 sacks. He also had 27 tackles for loss in those three seasons. Jackson is also extremely durable, and played in every game in his three seasons as a Jaguar.
4 - What are Jackson’s weaknesses?
Jackson is 29-years-old now and has noticeably lost a step. He struggled to stop the run in 2018, and the Jaguars struggled to stop the run as a unit in 2017 before Jackson was paired with Marcell Dareus in the trenches after a mid-season trade. Other than that, Jackson is solid.
5 - Anything else to know about Jackson off the field?
Jackson is a veteran and should be a great locker room presence for Philadelphia. Just watch Jackson crash Calais Campbell’s interview to defend Blake Bortles after a Tennessee Titans player was talking trash. He has his teammates’ back. He’s also done some great charity work through his Malik’s Gifts Foundation, including paying all the fees for 181 pets during an adoption event.