Bears trade up, draft Alabama S Eddie Jackson

SHARE Bears trade up, draft Alabama S Eddie Jackson
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The Bears drafted Eddie Jackson in the fourth round. (Getty Images)

Eddie Jackson awoke from sleep to a dream.

Bears GM Ryan Pace called the Alabama safety, waking him up from a nap to tell him the Bears hadchosen him with the No. 112 pick in thefourth round Saturday.For the second time in three days, Pace moved up in the draft, trading the Bears’ sixth-round pick thisyear, No. 197, and No. 117 to move up five spots.

“Ijust thought my phone was going to wake me up whenever the time comes,” he said.

When it did, the Bears finally landed a defensive player in a strong defensive draft. Jackson’s ball skills make him a candidate to play free safety, and his return abilities might make him the Bears’ strongest candidate to return punts next season. He played on the nation’s best defense last year.

Jackson has real medical risk. The 6-foot, 201-poundertore his right ACL in April 2014 but returned for Week 2 and started 11 games.He broke his left leg in Game 8 last year while returning a punt and did not participate in the NFL Scouting Combine. He has a rod in that leg.

“I’m fine right now. I’m healthy, and I’ll be ready to go by training camp and everything like that,” he said. “Last year, it was frustrating. I went down with an injury. It’s something I can’t control. But I’m just ready to get there and work with the training staff at the bears. I know I’m gonna be ready for training camp 100 percent, no limitations.”

Like many of GM Ryan Pace’s draft picks the last threeyears, he was a team captain. He made a gigantic leap in his senior season of high school,earning a scholarship offer from the Crimson Tide despite bot having played as a sophomore or junior because of academic reasons. He started four games at cornerback as a true freshman and eventually moved to safety during spring ball before his junior year. He did so with the help of a familiar face: former Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, who was an assistant at Alabama.

“He was one of the guys that really helped me to understand thefundamentals of playing safety …” he said. “He just always told me things to keep me motivated.”


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