Eddie Jackson has a trait that the Bears secondary has been lacking
Who better to describe the Eddie Jackson’s skill set than Nick Saban himself? Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune was able to sit down with Saban and have a question and answer session where he uncovered what a former coach thought of the fourth round pick. The most noticeable quote Saban gave was about an intangible Saban saw in him that made him flash in moments. He described it as “athletic intuition.” Saban said:
"It’s really hard to teach defensive backs, you know, when do I tackle the guy? When do I intercept the ball? When do I swat (at) the guy? That’s almost like teaching a guy to bat. You can teach him how to swing in baseball. You can teach him what the strike zone is. But you can’t really teach whether it’s a ball or strike from the time it leaves the pitcher’s hand and gets to home plate.I call it “athletic intuition” to have that kind of innate instincts to be able to track the ball, play the ball, anticipate where the ball is going, know where the reception area is. That’s one of the things Eddie always did well. People say the ball just comes to him. It doesn’t come to him. He gets in the right place so he gets the ball."
Jackson having a strong acumen and ability to play the ball well is a perfect fit for the Bears. They are a team with some depth at safety, but none of them are proficient in having ball skills. The majority of them are better in the box or running downhill to make plays on the ball. They do not have that centerfielder mentality or that “athletic intuition” to see the field and make plays on where the ball is going.
Jackson having this trait may get him on the field much earlier than anticipated. Despite a broken leg, if he can pick up the mental processing of the game, he may be about to jump in once he is healthy. He clearly has the skill and athleticism on tape, and it can be argued he would have gone much higher than the fourth round with a healthy leg. A broken leg should be an easier injury to transition from than a soft tissue one, so do not be surprised if Jackson is auditioning to be a future starter in center field next season.