The most overrated player on each Detroit Lions NFC North rival in 2022
Chicago Bears: FS Eddie Jackson
It’s been fast fall for Jackson, who made back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2018 and 2019 (his second and third seasons in the league). In 30 games over the last two seasons, while he has topped 75 total tackles in each campaign, he has as many interceptions as you and I do. The investment the Bears made in him, with a four-year, $58 million after the 2019 season, has not paid off.
Since he signed that deal, questions about Jackson’s tackling and effort level have come. Getting down to it, he has truly been declining since his breakout in 2018 (six interceptions, 15 pass breakups).
As recently outlined by Parker Hurley over at Bears Goggles On, Jackson’s overall effectiveness directly correlates to how often he plays deep–the more, the better. New head coach Matt Eberflus, with his defensive background, has surely noticed the data split between what Jackson did under Vic Fangio compared to two years under Chuck Pagano and last year.
Letting him play to his strengths as a deep safety will benefit Jackson. The presence of rookie safety Jaquan Brisker should foster that.
But now entering his age-29 season, Jackson might just not be as good as he showed in 2018 and he has slowly being able to live off less and less since. Beyond the lack of interceptions over the last two years, which can be fluky if you want to give him some benefit of doubt, Jackson has 18 pass breakups across his other four seasons besides 2018. Being around the ball in the air regularly would at least show up there, even if someone can’t quite corral interceptions. His passer rating allowed has been 110.1 and 143.6 the last two seasons respectively.
Jackson is entering a prove-it season in 2022, and a clean slate under a new coaching staff can only help. It’s just hard to see him becoming one of the better ballhawk safeties in the league again, even if his name will suggest to some that he still is.