Sixth round picks always face an uphill climb toward making the roster and contributing - but then again, it's not every draft that you take a guy who shares the same name as a president.
This is Andrew Jackson the inside linebacker, not Andrew Jackson the seventh president of the United States of America. And this Andrew Jackson is out to earn his way onto the roster however he can.
Drafted by the Colts in the sixth round out of Western Kentucky, Jackson brings great run defense to a Colts unit that could really use help in the area. In 37 career games for the Big Red, recording 326 career tackles (43 for loss), 6.5 sacks, 1 interception, 4 pass deflections, 5 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery. He was a two-time All Sun Belt first team player, in both 2011 and 2012, and in 2013 he was named to the second team All Sun Belt. He participated in the 2014 East West Shrine game and, as already mentioned, was drafted by the Colts in the sixth round of the draft.
As far as talent goes, I like the pick by the Colts and I like Jackson. Here's what I wrote after the draft about him while I was handing out my draft grades (by the way, I gave the pick of Jackson an A-):
Talent-wise, Jackson is the run defender that the Colts really needed. He's a thumper in a 3-4 scheme who is very stout against the run - something the Colts have really needed from their inside linebackers and something that wasn't really addressed that great with D'Qwell Jackson, either. In coverage and in pass defense, however, Jackson is a liability and therefore he will likely never be an every-down player because of the pass-heavy nature of the NFL today. That said, as a rotational and depth player, he's a very nice piece to have, as he can bring the hammer as an inside linebacker and that is something the Colts can absolutely use.
Jackson should provide good run support in the run defense and he should be able to stick around in that area. He won't see a whole lot of playing time because guys like Jerrell Freeman, D'Qwell Jackson, Josh McNary, and Kelvin Sheppard are also on the team at inside linebacker, though Jackson's strength in run defense brings something that none of the other guys really do, and that is a thumper in the middle of the defense. All four are better overall players than Jackson, but he stands a chance to stick around because of the fact that he's a good run defender. He struggles a bit in coverage and had some off-the-field issues in college, but he's in a strong locker room now and as far as the coverage goes, he likely won't be asked to do that much and he can work on that. If he can play special teams and contribute there (which I think he can and would be able to), then I think he's a guy to keep an eye on. He probably won't get much playing time even if he does play his way onto the 53 man roster, but he would provide solid depth, a good run defender, and special teams help while continuing to improve and develop. For a sixth rounder, I'll gladly take it and I like this pick and this player.
Quick Summary: Andrew Jackson:
Weight: 254 pounds
College: Western Kentucky
Drafted: Sixth round (203rd overall)
Statistical Resume: 37 career games played (33 starts), 326 tackles, 43 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 1 interception, 4 passes defensed, 5 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery
Contract: 4-years, $2,317,000 ($97,000 signing bonus), $444,250 cap hit in 2014 (via Spotrac)
Pros: run defense; good size; good tackler
Cons: coverage; off the field concerns
Twitter: @Jackson2014Aj (unverified)