Iowa has produced a plethora of NFL-caliber offensive lineman over the past few years. That trend will continue this spring, as Alaric Jackson is expected to hear his name called in the upcoming draft.
Jackson had an outstanding career with the Hawkeyes, appearing in 42 games and earning All-Big Ten honors. He spent all four seasons at left tackle, proving he can hold his own against some of the best pass rushers in the conference.
There were some concerns about Jackson’s durability in 2019 since he battled a knee injury, but he changed his diet and lost body fat to improve his frame. That really paid off for Jackson, who completed the three-cone drill in 7.70 seconds and the 40-yard dash in 5.38 seconds during his pro day.
If you put his Iowa tape and pro day performance together, there’s a lot to like about Jackson. He plays with great leverage and gets out of his stance very quickly, two attributes that NFL offensive tackles need to have.
We sat down with Alaric Jackson to discuss his career with the Hawkeyes, preparation for the NFL Draft, favorite college football rivalries and more.
The Spun: How has this draft process been for you?
Alaric Jackson: It’s been a little bit crazy, but it’s been a great experience overall. You only go through it one time, so you better enjoy it. Other than that, I’ve been meeting teams and learning how they see me in their system.
The Spun: What do you think your role will be in the NFL?
AJ: Swing offensive tackle. I’ll probably play both sides – I only played left at Iowa. They see me playing on both sides of the offensive line.
The Spun: What’d you think of your pro day?
AJ: I’d probably give myself a B. The best thing for me overall was how I performed in the drills. I showed scouts that I can move despite gaining weight since the end of the 2020 season.
Official results from Iowa pro-day:
Hand 10 3/8
Arm 34 6/8
Wing 84 2/8👀
OL Alaric Jackson
20 reps pic.twitter.com/hCQa4SVKF3
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) March 22, 2021
The Spun: What’s your best attribute on the field?
AJ: My blocking ability in the run game. I’m just a mauler in the run game. I move people well in any direction, and it doesn’t matter what scheme we run.
The Spun: You shared a post on Twitter about how certain Big Ten teams haven’t defeated Iowa in years. How important are those rivalries to you?
AJ: They’re pretty big because they’re all trophy games. Most of the border-state teams we have, like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa State and Nebraska, never beat us during those four years I was here. It’s definitely a big accomplishment for me.
The Spun: Which rivalry game was your favorite?
AJ: Wisconsin for sure. Those guys had our number for a long time over the past four to five years. Being able to beat them on my way out was a gift.
Days since Iowa’s 4 rivals beat Iowa in football:
Wisconsin – 513 days
Nebraska – 2,320 days
Minnesota – 2,340 days
Iowa State – 2,396 days
Happy Monday. Go Hawks😎
— B1G Mhawk (@B1G_Mhawk) April 5, 2021
The Spun: What’s your favorite moment at Iowa?
AJ: The Ohio State game from 2017. Beating them at home by 31 points was the biggest thing I’ve ever been a part of on the field.
The Spun: Which offensive linemen do you study on tape?
AJ: I would definitely go with David Bakhtiari. He’s incredible in the passing game. Nothing gets past him and he plays with great leverage. In the run game, I’d go with Trent Williams. He does things you can’t coach.
The Spun: Six Canadian players are preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft. What can you say about the talent from the North?
AJ: We’re not always sought after because people don’t see us as much, but we definitely hold our own in all sports.
6⃣ Canadians are currently preparing for the 2021 #NFLDraft 🇨🇦
— NFL Canada (@NFLCanada) March 19, 2021
The Spun: Who was the toughest defensive lineman you faced in college, and is there anyone you really want to go up against in the NFL?
AJ: Toughest guy has to be Yetur Gross-Matos from Penn State. He’s really athletic and can do a lot of things you can’t teach. As far as the NFL goes, I’m looking forward to blocking everyone for the most part. It’s going to be a challenge every week due to all the talent in the league, but I’m excited for it.
The Spun: What is an NFL team getting in Alaric Jackson?
AJ: A team player. I make sure everyone else is fine before I make myself fine. I know that encouraging others is great from a mental health perspective. You’re also getting a competitor. I love to compete. During the Senior Bowl, I was playing guard and right tackle. I never played either before, but I went out there and got the job done. I’m a guy who you can always count on. You don’t have to worry about me doing anything wrong, on and off the field.
— Dylan Sanders (@DillySanders) January 27, 2021
Jackson is projected to hear his name called on Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft.
You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.