Now that free agency has hit, the focus is shifting towards the draft. DallasCowboys.com will feature players who are currently under contract for next season, analyzing their past season and their future prospects.
Today, we continue the series with defensive end Joe Jackson.
What's Been Good: Not only did he make the 53-man roster, the rookie defensive end stayed there for the entire season.
You can laugh if you want to, but that's a heck of an accomplishment for a Day 3 draft pick. The Cowboys drafted Jackson's University of Miami teammate, Michael Jackson, seven spots higher than Joe – and he was released and ultimately wound up with the Detroit Lions.
Unless you're talking about a top 15-20 draft pick, it's tough for a rookie defensive end to make an impact. At 6-4, 285 pounds, Jackson clearly has the frame to do so. The fact that he showed enough potential for the previous coaching staff to keep him around is encouraging.
What's Been Bad: It's not that he's been bad, we just haven't seen anything yet.
Jackson played a respectable 26 snaps in the season opener against the New York Giants, and that was the bulk of his participation on the season. He finished with just 72 snaps, as he was a healthy scratch for the second half of the season. He managed five tackles and two quarterback pressures.
Again, Jackson deserves credit for playing his way onto the roster, but he simply wasn't a major contributor in Year 1.
What's Next: As it stands right now, 2020 could serve as a big opportunity for the Florida native.
Robert Quinn's departure in free agency leaves a massive hole on the right side of the defensive line. Tyrone Crawford would be the presumed starter right now, and there's always the chance Randy Gregory could return from suspension. But defensive end is not a deep position, no matter how you slice it.
If Jackson makes strides in his second training camp, he could earn himself a piece of the rotation.