A new report suggests that some within the Miami Dolphins organization will be disappointed if Austin Jackson is not an immediate starter on the left side.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald looked at how the Dolphins are approaching their offensive line situation for the 2020 season. There’s some hope that Jackson can be a quick study and either start right away or within the first few weeks of the campaign.
“If Jackson isn’t the starting left tackle at some point early in the season (or by the beginning of the season) some internally will be disappointed,” Jackson wrote. “The Dolphins loved his film, even though he struggled against Iowa’s AJ Epenesa. They love his character. They love his talent.”
Jackson was the 18th overall selection in the draft and comes from the University of Southern California, which has long been a talent pipeline for NFL teams. That’s especially true when it comes to the Trojans’ legacy of success in regards to developing offensive linemen.
One of the reasons that the Dolphins feel that Jackson can become an immediate presence is that in 1,152 pass-blocking snaps, he’s only allowed the quarterback to be hit 11 times.
Improving pass blocking was a vital concern for the Dolphins during the offseason, with the team allowing 58 sacks last season.
It’s especially important in the years ahead now that the team has acquired its quarterback of the future, Tua Tagovailoa. While Tagovailoa may not play much during his first season in Miami, keeping him healthy is an absolute necessity.
The Dolphins appear to be in the minority with their expectations for Jackson, since many NFL draft experts feel that he needs time to develop his overall game.
However, the reality of how weak the Dolphins are at left tackle may make Jackson’s path to becoming a starter much easier.
During the draft, the Dolphins used multiple picks to make upgrades on the offensive line, but it appears that Jackson’s progress will be closely watched during training camp.