Let’s hear it for LA Rams UDFA LT AJ Jackson’s solid debut
By Bret Stuter
There is nothing fun about coming in cold to protect the quarterback’s blind side, particularly since that quarterback is as valuable to the team as starting quarterback Matthew Stafford is to the LA Rams. Now, imagine how much more intimidating it is to come into a game, knowing full well that you are about to confront the most dangerous pass rush in the NFL, that of the Minnesota Vikings.
Well, for the normal NFL rookie perhaps.
But this was Alaric Jackson, a.k.a. AJ Jackson, a player with a lot of upside potential who has a bit of something to prove to the NFL. You see, he was that starting left tackle from the Iowa Hawkeyes who mysteriously fell in the NFL Draft. Originally predicted to be selected midway on Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft, he fell all the way out of the draft and into the LA Rams roster as an undrafted free agent.
The exact reasons for his fall are a bit foggy, as he was a career-left tackle in college who played 42 starts at the position for one of the best offensive line programs in college football. Perhaps he peaked too soon and leveled out for a team that was successful, but never in the conversation for a national championship?
At the time that the LA Rams signed him, we were thrilled at his arrival. While some of that enthusiasm was undoubtedly tied to the fact that he was the first offensive lineman added to the team, he has plenty of reason to generate optimism in the fanbase. After his debut at left tackle for the LA Rams, it seems perfectly well-timed to revisit why Jackson was such an important addition to the LA Rams in 2021.