Starting this training camp, the odds were not in Asa Jackson’s favor of making the Raven’s 53 man roster this year. He finished last year on suspension due to a failed drug test, and will start this year on another 8 game suspension due to a separate failed drug test. He has constantly been seen as undersized, too weak, and too inconsistent to make an impact in the NFL. Then came Thursday night, a night when so many Ravens underperformed, Jackson shone brightly.
A fifth round draft choice out of Cal Poly, Jackson has claimed that his failed drugs tests were due to a mix up in the paperwork for his Adderall prescription, something that he then claimed has since been sorted out.
Against the Falcons, Jackson showed why the Ravens took a chance on him. Even though he played against Atlanta’s back ups, Jackson showed his agility and quickness in and out of his cuts in keeping pace with the receivers he faced. He showed terrific closing speed in his 7 tackles, the highest total on the team. Qualities like these make Ravens fans reminiscent of a young Lardarius Webb.
At 5’ 10" and 190 lbs, Jackson is built very similarly to the 5’ 10" 182 lb Webb. Both came from small schools and both have made an impression on special teams. Jackson showed some returning ability in his previous preseason, but showed terrific athleticism and natural instincts with a 78-yard touchdown punt return against the Falcons this preseason.
Facing an uphill battle into a crowded secondary, Jackson has done everything he needs to do to establish himself on the roster once his 8-week suspension has been completed.