By: Gary VanDyke II (Tiwtter: @HBogart27)
Updated: 8/15/2017

FFD260 IDPs: Rookies 4.0

“Put me in coach”

Date: Monday, August 14 / 2017
Why would I be taking note of the date? Simple really, we are well into camp with all the NFL franchises having played at least one preseason game. I personally look at this time of the year as passing on information on players to pick up rather than it being a “take”. I made my “takes” weeks or months ago about players to stash. This is all about the players from this point on saying “Put me in coach”, as they take advantage of reps in camp and preseason contests. I can’t call them “under the radar” or “sleepers” as they are making their own hype in camp and on the field. I’ll only be passing this information on that they are catching the attention of the coaches and are looking like players who will have a role for their respected teams going forward. I’m not willing to take credit for their hard work. And for anyone who may have read some of my past “takes” you may notice these may become shorter and have “less”.

Here again it is a simple explanation. It would not matter what I dug up on the player(s) from their past as much as what seems to be happening now and going forward. The point is what is being reported currently. So if anything for me it is a “take on information” of the current situation the player(s) have put themselves in. Simple right? Basically, I don’t want credit for anyone else’s hard work in any shape or form.

If you have missed out somehow by now on players I have suggested. Or maybe things aren’t playing out as I said in my “take”, there may be a way we both recover. And by the way, I am still crying into my pillow at night over the loss of Miami’s Rookie linebacker Raekwon McMillan. It felt like he was turning into my best “take”. Stash him or use his future value in a trade, this is a game after all, and we do what we must to win now. I’m currently in a position to hold. But I never say “never” on any player. I like to win.

Chicago FS/SS Eddie Jackson
H/W: 6’1” 201lbs
AGE: 24
Drafted: Rd 4, pick 5
College: Alabama
NFL.com combine grade: 5.4 (tied 10th)

Eddie Jackson was a former corner who turned safety whom may have been a top candidate in the 2016 draft following his junior year of college. He instead chose to return for his senior year and further his education and raise his stock as any smart young man should do. Unfortunately, the result was not as he anticipated in terms of raising his stock as he suffered a broken leg while returning a punt in the eighth game of his senior year. After being a first team All-SEC selection and a third team AP All-American his junior year he found his stock for the pro level actually fell off. And to further his fall the only recorded event in the combine he recorded was ten reps on the bench press while his leg was healing. I’m reading this as a possible top five prospect at his position in 2016 to the “forgotten man” in the 2017 draft.

Not so fast!
The Chicago Bears traded up in the fourth round to select Jackson with the idea to have him compete for playing time among the woeful secondary the team fielded in 2016. Not to mention to give him a chance at returning punts. At this point, Da’ Bears seem to have pulled off something special in trading up and selecting Jackson. It was a move made during the draft that garnered little more than eye rolls from the fans and as well as a lot of the draft “gurus”.

Mr. Jackson is now fully recovered from his leg injury and showing in camp signs of what made him a promising prospect after his junior year of college. He has reportedly gone from “eye-rolled” to “eye popping” with his play and presence on the field in camp. Enough so that he is looking more and more like the starter at free safety as we speak. Here are just a few statements about this young man so far via twitter by beat reports and such.

Sports Mockery @sportsmockery 13 Aug
“Top NFL Expert Believes Eddie Jackson Would’ve Been a 1st Rounder”

Patrick Finley @patrickfinley 12 Aug
RT @MarkPotash: It’s early, but … Rookie safety Eddie Jackson takes another step toward winning a starting job.

Aaron Leming @AaronLemingNFL 11 Aug
The #Bears haven’t seen range from the S position like they have in Eddie Jackson since the Mike Brown days. He’s a ballhawk.

*There are countless more positives tweeted.

Here are more in recent article “takes”.

From: Da Bears Blog

And I quote: “Three different trustworthy individuals, all on the ground in Bourbonnais, told DBB there was no way to argue Eddie Jackson wasn’t one of the two best safeties in camp. This, coupled with reports of Jackson getting time with the ones in practice, leads one to believe EJ will soon find himself lining up beside Quintin Demps in the starting defensive backfield.”

From: This Bears article
And I quote: “He missed a lot of the offseason, but he’s got a really good football IQ,” said coach John Fox. “I think you saw his return skills. We averaged 10-plus yards in our punt return, which we were a non-factor a year ago. All-in-all I think he’s just going to continue to improve.” And “On defense, Jackson has enjoyed the first-team reps he’s taken this summer.”

From: Chicago Sun Times
And I quote: “Jackson still has a lot to prove in the preseason to win the job, but he’s trending toward the starter’s role. Coach John Fox avoided addressing Jackson’s play at safety directly when asked about Jackson — often an indication that something’s up. Fox disdains addressing depth-chart movement or anything that might fuel speculation.”

Ok, so I know what you’re thinking to yourself here. Bogart is doing nothing but passing on what others have said. Yes I am, as I said in the beginning, I will not take credit for someone else’s work. But what I will do is act on what I’m receiving via reports and such. And I have, Eddie Jackson is sitting on my roster as I type this.

What it boils down to here is the state of the bear’s secondary before Jackson was drafted. They have added veteran player SS Quintin Demps who spent his last couple of years being mediocre for the Houston Texans. As for Jackson being called “the second best safety” on the team, it’s only a matter of time for him to be the best on the roster if he continues to play as he has so far in camp. If we were to recap the safety play from 2016 there is nothing special to talk about. In that division where you have the high pass percentage teams such as the Packers and Lions, Jackson has the chance to be a top notch add for our fantasy purposes. When we look at the Bears schedule this is what we see.

*There is enough like/love there for a starting FS. Maybe not every week, but that’s how you want to play most FS’s. By their matchups. Pending the play of the Opponents a couple OK/Eh… grades could be better than what they look like right now.

I listed him as an FS/SS in his bio, he has the size and range to me that I think he could possibly play either position. The Bears offense is a work in progress and as a result can lead to a lot of defensive snaps. I’m not at the point I believe Jackson will set the world on fire this season but I do know I’m willing to find out. If he can give us DB2 type numbers his rookie season we should consider him a great “add” to any fantasy roster. Feel free to take a look at the Bears secondary and see if you agree. If Jackson secures the starting gig he could be a very busy man this season. The punt returns are only a bonus if he lands that position too. I’ve bought in, I suggest we all do.

2017 (Possible) Outlook:
If he is what he has shown in college and what he is putting out right now in camp we are in for a treat. It is impossible this early to say for sure he is a lock for the position or that he can be highly productive as a fourth round pick. We should take notice of his reports and look at what is around him in terms of players he is competing with. And expect him, at this point, to win the FS starting position. The “upside’ can’t be ignored and neither should his standing up right now saying “Put me in coach!” attitude. The bears may have hit on this selection and we can see he seems like he is ready for the task at hand.

2017 (Possible) production:

Ceiling- High End DB2
Floor- Bye week fill in to low DB2 (depth)