USC offensive tackle Austin Jackson is the newest first-rounder for the Trojans, as the 6-foot-5, 322-pound tackle was selected by the Miami Dolphins with the 18th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Jackson was a two-year starter at USC, having started 25 games over his sophomore and junior seasons. He elected to leave early for the NFL Draft and impressed the Dolphins enough that they used their second pick of the first round on him.
Miami selected Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa fifth overall.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah broke down Jackson’s selection by the Dolphins.
“You’re getting a true left tackle with outstanding foot quickness and athleticism,” Jeremiah said. “He’s only 20 years old. I don’t know that he’s able to step on the field right now and be an impact tackle, but the upside with this kid is off the charts because of his ability to bend his knees and move. He’s an outstanding athlete.”
ESPN’s Louis Riddick echoed Jeremiah’s thoughts.
“You could say at least he’s on par with all the other top tackles in the draft,” Riddick said. “Tremendous set quickness, long arms, good punch, tremendous recover-ability. And in the run game he can play in a power scheme, he can play in a zone scheme, he can climb to the second level. He just needs to stay more consistent when he goes up against technically proficient pass rushers…This is a guy whose best football is all ahead of him, without a doubt.”
Jackson becomes the 82nd first-round NFL draft choice out of USC and the first USC offensive lineman chosen in the first round since Matt Kalil went fourth overall to the Minnesota Vikings in the 2012 draft.
In the 2019 draft, USC’s top draft pick was offensive tackle Chuma Edoga, who went in the third round and 92nd overall to the New York Jets.