The Vikings have announced that they have waived linebacker Dom DeCicco with an injury designation and have claimed linebacker Justin Jackson off of waivers.
DeCicco underwent a hip “procedure” this past week and until then had been a third string outside linebacker before then. Recently, Larry Dean had been seeing third team reps while he was out and DeCicco only took four snaps in the preseason (Week 1, against the Raiders).
The first many heard of him was in Bruce Feldman’s annual “Freaks List,” where Jackson was profiled as one of the top twenty athletes in college football.
12. Justin Jackson, Wake Forest, OLB: A linebacker who minors in dance, Jackson’s nifty footwork is also quite evident on the field and in all the drills Wake Forest tests in. The 6-1, 230-pounder has been timed in the 40 at 4.44 and a broad jump of 10-8 to go with a hang clean of 400 pounds.
Indeed, he does pop athletically. Of all the athletes who have gone to the NFL Combine between 1999 and 2014, Jackson’s weight-adjusted scores rank him 105th of 3379, or in the top three percent. Ranked 104th is Khalil Mack. Other linebackers ranked near him are Zavier Gooden and Keith Bullock, while the Vikings’ own Jerick McKinnon ranks 109th. Assuming all combine scores are equal, adjusting for weight makes Justin Jackson is more athletic than Jerick McKinnon, the single most athletic player at Vikings camp.
Creating a pseudo-mockdraftable radar graph for him brings the point home:
While his pure athleticism compares immediately to Khalil Mack’s his specific athletic comparisons best fit Zavier Gooden, Jamar Chaney, Ernie Sims, Patrick Willis and Seattle’s fourth-round pick, Kevin Pierre-Louis. This heavily implies that because he’s more agile than explosive that he’s not a hybrid pass-rush/linebacker but a rangy off-ball player.