Rookie Roles: Detroit Lions third-round pick, Jonah Jackson

Jonah Jackson, Ohio State Buckeyes (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jonah Jackson, Ohio State Buckeyes (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

In the sixth installment of ‘Rookie Roles’, we take a look at one of the Detroit Lions third-round picks, OG, Jonah Jackson.

Heading into this year’s draft you could argue that offensive guard was the Detroit Lions‘ biggest need. Which made landing one of their top options at the position late in the third-round such an important break for general manager Bob Quinn. In a series where I breakdown the possible roles rookies will play, there’s only one big question for Jonah Jackson. More on that later.

Guard was one of the biggest pre-draft needs because of the somewhat curious decision by Quinn to not pay the former starting right guard, Graham Glasgow. This left returning starting left guard Joe Dahl, backup swing guard Kenny Wiggins, and Oday Aboushi in the mix for snaps at guard as the Lions sat pre-draft. Yeah, they also have Beau Benzschawel, Caleb Benenoch, and Josh Garnett as options … but we need a starting NFL guard at this point people.

Thankfully, Quinn didn’t think too much of his options either and traded up 10 spots with the Indianapolis Colts in the draft to take Jonah Jackson 75th overall. Jackson was a fifth-year senior having red-shirted his freshman season at Rutgers, played the next three seasons for the Scarlet Knights before transferring to Ohio State in 2019. Where he went on to be All-First Team left guard in the Big-Ten.

Natural Role?

Jackson played at both left and right guard in college but projects to be a pass-blocking specialist in the NFL.  According to PFF, Jackson was the second-best guard in the draft and only allowed one sack in his entire four-year college career between Rutgers and Ohio State. You love to see that on the franchise quarterbacks blind-side. Which would put him at left guard, exactly where he ended up at Ohio State.

Projected Lions’ Role?

This is where things get a little cloudy for the rookie. As previously stated, his most natural position is at left guard … but the only other starter-worthy guard on the Lions roster is the incumbent starter at left guard, Joe Dahl.

Dahl proved himself a capable starter in the NFL last season, but he’s also proved he’s not the best run-blocker as well. Jackson hasn’t proved either … but projects to be better in both categories. Do the Lions play to Dahl’s strengths and keep him at left guard? Or let Jackson set up shop as he the left guard of the future? That’s the only real question in Jonah’s role in 2020.

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My initial thoughts are that Jackson’s role in 2020 will start out at right guard given Dahl’s shortcomings in the run game. But it’s just a matter of time before Jonah moves home to the left side of the line … like as soon as they find someone to man the right.