DE Drake Jackson Press Conference
DE Drake Jackson
Press Conference – April 29, 2022
San Francisco 49ers
Hey Drake. Congratulations. Just wanted to see how familiar you were with the 49ers and with defensive line coach Kris Kocurek and his coaching style?
“I’m real good in his line. When I went up there for the 30 visit, I got to go in his room and we really attacked where he saw me fitting and a couple of plays. I was able to talk a little ball with him and man, I love to play for a coach that is fired up like that and who wants a lot out of his guys. It’s a challenge and I’m willing to take on that challenge. I want to be happy and I want to make him happy as well. So, I just can’t wait to get to it with a legendary coach like that.”
You mentioned that you got a chance to kind of see how you would fit here when you were talking to Coach Kocurek, what is the plan for you? What has kind of been the early indications of how they would like to use you right off the bat?
“So right now, I stay on the edge. I think they see me fitting in a couple of different spots, but I’d say right on the edge.”
Not sure how much you keep in touch with S Talanoa Hufanga, but I believe you’re only going to be the second Trojan on the roster, how much do you talk to him and what’s he told you about the organization?
“Coming back to the 30 visit, I actually saw him. We were able to chop it up. Before I came in, Talanoa was one of the top guys at my school. He really was one of those guys to look up to, he got one of those gold plaques on our walk of fame. It’s just one of those guys that has those work ethics that you just look at and you’re like, man, I kind of got to get like that. As a freshman, I looked up, for sure, because he was a dog and I wanted to be a dog. I was willing to do whatever it took to be that.”
Drake, I noticed that your weight jumped around from the combine to the pro day. Are you trying to get to a spot or a certain weight to play in the NFL? What’s behind that fluctuation in recent months?
“I’ll just give you the whole breakdown of how it went. So, coming out of the season I was probably 245 or 248, and then I went to XOS and I was on a game plan because a lot of the teams wanted to see me at my freshman weight and freshman year I weighed 275. I don’t know if a lot of coaches knew that or not, but I just started my training started my track on being that. Right around combine, I would say about two weeks before, I found out that I was going to be with the linebackers. So, I ended up talking with my crew, the people who I work with, and things of that sort. We thought it was good to drop weight so I can move a little better. Then after combine, it was the same way. I was trying to go back up to my personal weight again, because now I’m actually going to be doing D-Line drills. So, I gained the weight back up there and just wanted to show that I could play at my personal weight still.”
Can you share with us what the phone call was like from the 49ers who you spoke with and their encouragement for you?
“Man, it felt like I walked outside of my body almost. Man, I couldn’t believe it. My whole life was dedicated for this moment. Everything has been ball; I’ve never done anything else. It has always been ball. I’ve always done the things I’ve needed to do to get into this place. Still, you never really know if you’re able to go. It is still like a once in a lifetime opportunity and I just can’t believe it. It is wild and I’m still baffled by it. I’m blessed.”
There was some adversity you faced in college with the leadership and coaching staff, how did that prepare you for your NFL career?
“I’d say we just got a taste of the NFL in college. Before I even got to USC, in my home visits, I had a couple coaches that were there who had gotten fired as well. So, it already started from that. We saw that you can’t go to a place for a coach because that coach can leave. So, I was there for ball and any coach that was willing to come in and lay their knowledge, I was just trying to soak everything up like a sponge when they came. It made me better.”
What do you know about DE Nick Bosa and how excited are you to be teammates?
“I hope he is as excited to be my teammate as I am to be his. As soon as I get out there, I right try to find him and get a handshake from him and workout or something. I want to get in there and start getting the knowledge and the things that I need to grow and keep being a monster like him. He’s literally a gremlin on the side, he’s a monster. He puts fear into tackles’ eyes, and I just want to be the same way. That coming from the D-Line coach as well. His philosophy is lovely. It is one of those philosophies that is nasty. You have to be nasty to take your reward and I like that type of stuff. That is really the dog mentality, so I can’t wait to get into it.”
I believe you just recently turned 21, how much upside do you feel you still have? Are you still scratching the surface? What are the areas you feel that you need to grow?
“I’m really versatile. I am young and I would say that benefits me. That’s more time that I got to learn. People say that this is still a learning phase that I’m in, so I think I have a lot of knowledge that I can take in coming from the D-Line room and just everybody in the league. This whole first year is like a learning process so I just want to take it and go.”
I saw some videos of you doing backflips. Where did you learn that?
“I felt like this was going to come because I told myself when I get drafted, I’m going to do a backflip. I was thinking about doing one right now and showing you guys. I learned that as a kid. That was one of the things I was into. A lot of people couldn’t do it, so that’s why I wanted to do it. As a kid, I used to go to trampoline parks. Finally, in college is when I got confident enough to do it on the ground. I’ve always seen people do backflips and I thought that I had more hops than them. I thought, why don’t I just try it? That’s one of the things I’ve never wanted to lose because it is pretty cool.”