Even before the arrival of Chuck Pagano, there were people who compared Eddie Jackson to Hall of Famer Ed Reed. It was such an easy thing. They both had similar body types, speed, athleticism, range, and elite ballskills. Still, Pagano was the man who helped transform Reed into a star at Miami and then oversaw the second half of his career in Baltimore.
If anybody could offer a valid opinion on whether Jackson is like Reed, it’s him. Surprisingly, Pagano embraced the idea. He didn’t try to downplay anything. From a pure talent perspective, the two are much alike. There is still plenty of ways for Jackson to improve, but that is natural for a young player. At his current trajectory, there is no telling how good he’ll get.
“From a talent standpoint? Very, very similar. Great instincts. Great range. Great ball skills. He’s only three years into it. Ed has a lot more time on task, obviously. He’s got a lot of the same traits. He loves football. He’s a football junkie. And again, the sky’s the limit for a guy like that.
When you know the defense and you know what you’re doing and then you can spend all your time figuring out the offense and being one step ahead, that’s where he’s got an edge on everybody. He’s very similar to Reed.”
A more interesting question though isn’t if Jackson is like Reed. It’s who is Ha Ha Clinton-Dix supposed to be?
Chuck Pagano likely sees familiar traits in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Remember that Pagano had a strong voice in the acquisition of Clinton-Dix during free agency. Granted, it was Ryan Pace, Jackson, and Mitch Trubisky who made the big sales pitch but it will be Pagano’s system he plays in. So what type of player did the veteran coach see in the safety? Looking back over his long career in the NFL, there is one name that fits.
Most NFL fans might not remember the name Bernard Pollard. Strangely, he had a somewhat similar career to Clinton-Dix. He was a former high draft choice (2nd round) in Kansas City. After some initial success he was let go to join another team in Houston. After a brief stint with them, he found his way to Pagano and the Baltimore Ravens in 2011.
Pagano’s first year as a defensive coordinator.
Pollard went on to have one of the best all-around seasons of his career. Somebody who showcased a mix of coverage prowess and a physical presence around the line of scrimmage. He finished with 75 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, an interception, and 13 passes defended. A year later, he helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl.
Pollard and Clinton-Dix have similar build. Both are 6’1 with longer limbs and good athleticism. Pollard was a bit heavier at 225 lbs but Clinton-Dix is faster. Either way, it’s clear Pagano has seen this type of football player before. When he was paired with Reed in Baltimore, magic happened.