Lost in amongst some of the more notable players from this last season, Blake Jackson too has the opportunity to make an NFL roster, he like fellow Cowboys Justin Gilbert and Calvin Barnett, have joined up in Cleveland to be a part of the Browns. Jackson although some may view his career as underwhelming while in Stillwater, holds some intriguing traits that may allow him a chance to enter the NFL without some of the credentials of other players around him. He will have plenty of competition ahead of him though.
Jackson has the body type of most receiving tight ends now in the NFL. That has been the growing trend in the NFL over the last decade so the prototype has been set and Jackson definitely fits that prototype. While Jackson fits that prototype, so do the six other tight ends that are competing with him. There are some glaring issues though with Jackson.
Since he set foot in Stillwater, Jackson's ability to catch the football has been greatly questioned. Dropped passes are an easy way to be cut in the NFL and Jackson is going to have to prove in this summer mini-camp that he can catch footballs from the best arms, or at least Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel. Maybe best arms is something that is remaining to be seen as well.
Here are the standards though that Jackson is competing against. Take a look at Browns' starting tight end, Jordan Cameron. Runs a 4.5 40 compared to Jackson who runs around a 4.8 consistently. Obviously Jackson is not competing for a starting job, but he is competing for a roster spot. So look at the tight ends that will be more in Jackson's way. Marqueis Gray, who was a quarterback at Minnesota, runs a 4.65 and 30'' vertical. Again, better than the numbers that Jackson put up on his Pro Day back in March.
Jackson is however very athletic and just like he did in his short time in Stillwater, can surprise people with flashes of ability that doesn't come from an average tight end. If he can become more consistant and harness that ability to perform at a high level, then there might just be a place in the NFL for Blake Jackson. If he does not do that, and continues to perform at an inconsistent rate, the ceiling for what Jackson can do is make it on the practice squad for the Browns. He will be competing for a spot on the practice squad at that point.
Blake Jackson has a lot of potential that to this point has gone either unrecognized or fully harnessed. Jackson probably has the hardest road to the NFL of all of his teammates that are trying to make it in "the league." What can be the surest thing as it comes to not making it, Jackson can overcome those odds too and again surprise people. He is in a word, an enigma. The NFL's is pretty good with enigmas.