Miami Dolphins select Austin Jackson in 2020 NFL Draft: Grading the pick

With their second selection in the first round, the Miami Dolphins selected Austin Jackson with the 18th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

After taking Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick in the draft, the Miami Dolphins turned around at nineteenth and found him a bodyguard. Austin Jackson played left tackle for the USC Trojans last season. Currently, Julie’n Davenport holds the starting left tackle spot in Miami.

Unfortunately, Jackson‘s length and strength get offset by his poor hand placement, inconsistent footwork, and questionable balance. Essentially, his technique needs retooling before he can perform at a consistent level in the NFL. However, his physical tools make people believe he can develop into a great left tackle.

A few weeks ago, I predicted Jackson would turn into a bust. Prospects taken highly based on potential often don’t work out in the long run. He’s a classic boom or bust prospect, and the Dolphins took him over players like Houston’s Josh Jones, LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson, and LSU’s Justin Jefferson.

While Jackson fills an immediate need, he’s probably the wrong player at that spot. This selection is also a reach for a spotty left tackle who is a developmental prospect. The Dolphins want to protect Tagovailoa, who has an injury history.

NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein compared Jackson to D.J. Humphries. In his first four seasons, Humphries appeared in 43 games for the Arizona Cardinals and is nowhere near what Arizona hoped he would be. Jackson fits in the same mold.

Austin Jackson

Miami could’ve found a left tackle with their third first-round pick or even in the second round. With needs at linebacker, safety, and running back, the Dolphins picked the fifth or sixth best tackle in the NFL draft. Instead of taking the top linebacker, running back, or safety, who were still on the board, Miami swung for a questionable left tackle.

This isn’t the worst decision in the world, but Jackson is a far cry from Laremy Tunsil, who the Dolphins took with the 13th pick in 2016. Arguably, it’s a longterm downgrade at one of the most important positions in the sport. Miami botched this one.