Alaric Jackson is not Tristan Wirfs, that much is clear.
A year after the Wirfs wowed scouts with the freakish athleticism that would help him anchor the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory, reactions were much more subdued for the man who spent much of his career on the other end of the Iowa offensive line.
Checking in at six-foot-five and 321 pounds on Monday, Alaric Jackson hopes he proved at Iowa’s Pro Day that he can be a talented NFL prospect in his own right.
“I’m trying to make my own path for the most part. Just do what’s best for me, honestly. It’s not my idea to go to a top team with Tom Brady and be in a Super Bowl right away,” the Windsor-born mauler told reporters following his workout.
“I want to do that as well but in my own footsteps.”
His footsteps are, of course, considerable slower to land than those of Wirfs, a veritable Usain Bolt among offensive linemen. Jackson clocked a 5.38 second forty yard dash, 4.97 second short shuttle and 7.7 second 3 cone, nothing in his former teammates stratosphere but respectable nonetheless. He added a 25 inch vertical, eight-foot-seven-inch broad jump and 20 reps on the bench.
NFL scouts won’t be picking their jaws up off the floor, but head coach Kirk Ferentz believes he firmly cemented his draft stock nonetheless.
“From what I can tell watching him, I think he really helped himself. Like a lot of guys he’s hoping to play in the NFL,” Ferentz said.
“I think he’s going to get that opportunity, I think it’s a given and I’m sure he’ll do a really good job with that opportunity when it comes available to him.”
A four-year starter at tackle for the Hawkeyes, Jackson likely bounces inside to guard in the NFL and has beefed up for just such an opportunity. Previously a vegan, he’s added meat back back into his diet and put on 15 pounds since participating in the prestigious Senior Bowl all-star game in January.
“I felt like it helped me a lot, personally. I got all my strength back, I’m more fluid in my movements,” Jackson says.
If a little protein is all it takes to move him up draft boards, it will be well worth the cost. Once viewed as a potential second round pick, Jackson is now considered a mid-day three selection on most consensus boards. He’ll also have the CFL to fall back on, currently sitting atop the league’s 2021 Scouting Bureau Rankings.
Just like most things when compared to Wirfs, Jackson’s draft day will just be a little slower, but it won’t be any less special.