Saints complete draft with App State’s D’Marco Jackson, Air Force’s Jordan Jackson

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D'Marco Jackson and Jordan Jackson

The New Orleans Saints hope the final day of the 2022 NFL Draft results in a couple of action Jacksons boosting their already strong defense.

With their first pick of the day in the fifth round, the Black & Gold tabbed Appalachian State linebacker D’Marco Jackson at No. 161 overall.

The speedy All-American comes off of a tremndous final college season as redshirt senior. He became the only FBS player since the turn of the century to compile at least 120 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, six sacks and six passes defensed in a single season. Jackson earned Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year recognition for his efforts.

The 6-foot, 233 pounder in his career totalled 296 tackles, 34.0 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, three interceptions, 14 PBUs, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and one touchdown on the return of a blocked punt.

Although he played inside at a high level for the Mountaineers, Jackson could get looks as a weakside linebacker with New Orleans. Jackson’s freestyling, downhill approach produced a spike in overall production in 2021, but also led to missed run fits and big plays for the running game. He has some talent at slipping blocks but it is usually lights out once blockers get their hands on him. His pursuit speed, combined with a lack of desired instincts, could necessitate a move to 4-3 Will linebacker, where his coverage potential and special-teams ability might land him a backup gig.

Jackson will compete for snaps behind starters Demario Davis and Pete Werner.

In the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Saints added competition at defensive tackle with the selection of Air Force’s Jordan Jackson at 194th overall.

The 6-4, 194 pounder had a career-best 7.5 sacks in his final season with the Falcons. He started in three of the past four season, missing 2020 due to shoulder surgery.

Another elite athlete at his position, Jackson is lauded by scouts for his quick first step off the snap.

His versatility means he could see snaps at defensive end. High-motor tweener with some intriguing physical traits, but a lack of consistency at both defensive end and defensive tackle. Jackson is at his best when he’s chasing down the line or attacking the pocket with a secondary rush fueled by hustle. His lean lower half and lack of knee-bend might always be culprits in holding the point of attack, but his snap quickness gives him a shot in a one-gapping scheme. Lateral quickness and active hands give him some life as an interior rusher, but he needs to upgrade his skill set if he wants to become more than a practice squad candidate.

In total, the Saints made five choces in the 2022 draft.

2022 Saints Draft Picks
Round 1 (11th): Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Round 1 (19th): Trevor Penning, OL, Northern Iowa
Round 2 (49th): Alontae Taylor, DB, Tennessee
Round 5 (161st): D’Marco Jackson, LB, Appalachian State
Round 6 (194th): Jordan Jackson, DT, Air Force

New Orleans Saints 2022 NFL Draft
Day Three Notes

• With the 161st pick overall, the Saints selected Appalachian State linebacker D’Marco Jackson.
• Jackson is the first player the Saints have ever selected from Appalachian State, making Appalachian State the 173rd college or university the Saints have selected a player from.
• This is the second consecutive year New Orleans has picked a player from the Sun Belt Conference, after the Saints picked South Alabama wide receiver Kawaan Baker in the seventh round in 2021.
• This is the sixth consecutive year that the Saints have selected a player from the Southeastern Conference in the NFL Draft.
• In four seasons, the Spartanburg, S.C. native finished his college career with 296 tackles, 34 stops for loss, 11.5 sacks, three interceptions, 14 passes defensed, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and one touchdown (on the return of a blocked punt). He played in 53 career games with 32 starts, including 29 straight to end his career and was the only FBS player with more than 200 tackles and 25 stops for loss in the 2020 and 2021 seasons combined.
• In 2021, as a redshirt senior, Jackson earned second-team All-American recognition from Pro Football Network and was Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year as the team captain started all 14 games and finished the season with 120 tackles, 19.0 stops for loss, 6.0 sacks, one interception, six passes defensed, one forced fumbles and 27 quarterback pressures.
• Jackson was the only FBS player in the 2000s with a season that included at least 120 tackles, 19 stops for loss, six sacks and six passes defensed in the same season
• As a redshirt junior in 2020, Jackson started all 12 games at inside linebacker and was tied for the team lead with 91 tackles, 6.5 stops for loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, eight passes defensed, four QB hurries and one fumble recovery. He was the only FBS player with at least 90 tackles, 6.5 stops for loss, 2.5 sacks, two picks and eight passes defensed. Jackson was a first-team All-Sun Belt selection from Phil Steele and second-team from the league.
• As a redshirt sophomore in 2019, Jackson played in 14 games with six starts and ranked fifth on the team with 60 tackles to go along with 6.5 stops for loss, three sacks, two passes defensed and one quarterback hurry. He also scored his first college touchdown on the 16-yard return of a blocked punt with 39 seconds left in the first half against Charlotte.
• As a redshirt freshman in 2018, Jackson played in all 13 games and totaled 25 tackles (tied for the team lead among underclassmen) with 2.0 stops for loss, one QB hurry and one pass breakup.
• The 6-1, 230-pound Jackson had graduated from Appalachian State and is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration.
• With the 194th overall selection (sixth round), New Orleans selected Air Force defensive tackle Jordan Jackson.
• Jackson, 6-5, 285, is the first player the Saints have ever selected from Air Force, making the service academy the 174th college or university the Saints have selected a player from. Jackson is the ninth Air Force player taken in the draft all-time. This is the first time New Orleans has selected a football player from the Mountain West Conference, since they picked quarterback Garrett Grayson and defensive tackle Tyeler Davison in the 2015 NFL Draft. With Jackson’s selection, it marks the second consecutive year that every player drafted by the Saints played their college football in a different conference.
• In four seasons, Jackson played in 49 games and finished his college career with 140 tackles, 15.5 sacks for a loss of 137 yards (second in AF history in career sack yardage), 29.5 stops for losses of 181 yards (eighth in AF history) and two blocked kicks. He was a two-time second-team All-Mountain West selection.
• After missing the 2020 season, in 2021, the Jacksonville, Fla. native started all 13 games and was a second-team All-Mountain West selection, recording 41 tackles, 12.5 stops for 91 yards in losses, 7.5 quarterback takedowns for losses of 79 yards and one blocked PAT, as he helped the Falcons to a 11-2 record.
• In 2019, Jackson played in 13 games with 12 starts and was honorable mention All-Mountain West, as he recorded 38 tackles, 4.5 stops for loss, 3.5 sacks and two passes defensed, as he helped the Falcons to a 10-3 record.
• In 2018, Jackson started all 12 games and earned second-team All-MWC, as he made 54 tackles and team-bests of 12.5 stops for loss and 4.5 sacks.
• Jackson graduated with a degree in management. In the summer of 2018, he completed survival training, the basic space operations program and a program in remote piloted aircraft. In the summer of 2019, he completed an engineering class and was on the cadet leadership cadre.

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