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Report: Broncos had a top-30 pre-draft visit with USC edge rusher Drake Jackson

An intriguing edge rusher has met with the Denver Broncos

USC Trojans defeats the Arizona Wildcats 41-34 during a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

According to 9News Denver’s Mike Klis, the Denver Broncos recently had a top-30 visit with USC edge rusher Drake Jackson

Jackson is a 6’3”, 254-pound edge rusher out of USC who is considered one of the better edge rushers in the 2022 NFL Draft.

He played a total of three seasons at USC and was a consistent contributor to their defense. During his three seasons, Jackson totaled 103 total tackles, 25 tackles for a loss, 12.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles. This past season for the Trojans, he totaled 37 tackles, 8 tackles for a loss, 5 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble.

With it being a very deep edge-rushing group in the 2022 NFL Draft, Jackson is considered a day two prospect who could be available when the Broncos select at 64th overall.

The Athletic’s draft guru Dane Brugler has Jackson ranked as his 10th best edge rusher in the entire draft and has him as his 63rd overall prospect in the entire 2022 NFL Draft. He says that Jackson has the upside to be a disruptive pass rusher in the NFL.

SUMMARY: A three-year starter at USC, Jackson played the stand-up “B Backer” edge rush position in former defensive coordinator Todd Orlando’s hybrid 4-2-5 scheme. His most productive season came as a freshman at 275 pounds, but he shed 35 pounds during quarantine prior to the 2020 season, losing bad weight and transitioning to an outside linebacker role at 240 pounds in the new scheme (weighed 254 at the Combine). Although his initial step can be better, Jackson rushes with outstanding flexibility, length, and arc acceleration along with the instincts to capture the corner or fire back inside. He had average production for a player with his athletic tools, but he tends to be speed-reliant and needs to add more ammo and urgency into his hands. Overall, Jackson is a twitched-up speed rusher with the upside to be disruptive in the NFL if he can develop his play strength and hand/power moves without sacrificing athleticism. He has the upside of an impactful NFL starter but has work to do if he wants to reach that level.

GRADE: 2nd-3rd Round (No. 63 overall)

Even after signing Randy Gregory and potentially moving Baron Browning to edge rusher full-time, the Broncos still need some edge-rushing help. Gregory has dealt with injuries throughout his career and is recovering from one currently, Bradley Chubb has underperformed and been injured a lot throughout his career, and the rest of the depth was not productive last season. So, adding a rookie who could potentially play significant snaps, add depth, and potentially take over for Bradley Chubb next season is something they should consider.

We are less than a week from the start of the 2022 NFL Draft and we have seen the Broncos show significant interest in edge rushers throughout the entire process. So, it appears it’s not if the Broncos will draft another edge rusher, it is how early will they select one? Drake Jackson is an intriguing name to keep an eye on and if he is available when the Broncos pick at 64, we could see his name called.