RB Steven Jackson, Free agent

HT: 6-2, WT: 233, Born: 7-22-1983, College: Oregon State, Drafted: Round 1, Pick 24

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2014 Projections

GRSHYDY/RTDRECYDY/RTDFPT
David Dodds14.0150.05703.85.029.01896.51.0112
Bob Henry14.0160.06003.86.035.02306.61.0125
Jason Wood14.0200.07003.55.027.01907.01.0125
Maurile Tremblay16.0167.06523.96.044.02946.71.0137

Average draft position

Current as of August 25th. [Full ADP list]

Overall: G Olsen (78), P Thomas (79), Steven Jackson (80), G Tate (81), L Miller (82)
Position: S Ridley (75-RB29), P Thomas (79-RB30), Steven Jackson (80 - RB31), L Miller (82-RB32), M Jones-Drew (84-RB33)
Click here for a comparison of these players.

PPR Average draft position

Current as of August 25th. [Full PPR ADP list]

Overall: F Jackson (95), D Sproles (96), Steven Jackson (97), K Benjamin (98), Z Ertz (99)
Position: F Jackson (95-RB34), D Sproles (96-RB35), Steven Jackson (97 - RB36), B Pierce (102-RB37), K Moreno (104-RB38)
Click here for a comparison of these players.


Outlook

Steven Jackson arrived in Atlanta via free agency on March 14, 2013, signing a three-year contract with the Falcons. He'd had eight straight 1,000+ yards-rushing seasons prior to signing with the Falcons, but his 2013 campaign was derailed by a torn hamstring, suffered during Week two of the 2013 season - he didn't manage a single game of over 100 yards rushing the entire season, even once he finally returned to the field during Week eight of 2013. "Unfortunately, Steven was injured last year and we didn't really get a chance to see what he was capable of doing until the last four or five games," head coach Mike Smith said on March 28, 2014. Jackson ended 2013 with 156/542/6 rushing and 33/191/1 receiving over 12 appearances. Jackson will be 31 on July 22nd, 2013. It remains to be seen if Jackson can bounce back to his pre-injury form on the wrong side of 30 - the selection of running back DeVonta Freeman at 4.03 of the 2014 NFL Draft enhanced the depth at running back behind Jackson, and some observers view Freeman as a potential contributor in the Falcons' pass-heavy offense. The Falcons ranked 24th in the NFL in yards-per-carry last season, averaging 3.9 yards per carry - there is definitely room for improvement up front on the offensive line. The selection of OT Jake Matthews at 1.06 in the NFL Draft should help open up some better running lanes for Jackson during 2014, as should the arrival of veteran offensive linemen Gabe Carimi and Jon Asamoah via free agency. Unfortunately, Jackson suffered ANOTHER hamstring injury in practice on Monday, July 28 - this time it is to his other hamstring (not the same one he injured last year). The team is saying he'll be ready for week one of regular season, but we all remember how Jackson's last soft tissue injury worked out...


2014 Schedule

WeekOpponent


2013 Game Summaries

Week 1 - The Falcons continue to insert Jacquizz Rodgers into the lineup on second and third downs in the red zone. However, the coaching staff made some nice second-half adjustments when the Atlanta offensive line had difficulty containing the Saints pass rush and the biggest was featuring Jackson in the passing game on check-downs and screens to the flat. Jackson repeatedly made the first man miss with a dip, a hurdle, or simply ran through a defender's grasp. Between the tackles, Jackson was shifty and quick enough to bounce plays away from defensive penetration and bull his way for extra yards. One of his best plays was a second-half cutback from the inside shoulder of right guard to the backside of the play outside right tackle. This got Jackson into the flat for a 50-yard gain and he outran everyone up the sideline but Malcolm Jenkins. Jackson's work in the short passing game kept the Falcons' offense in the game, but he couldn't seal the deal on the penultimate play of the contest when he dropped a pass that hit him in the chest over the middle at the goal line in the waning seconds. Nonetheless, Jackson looked like the same good player he was in St. Louis and I wouldn't be surprised if he and Rodgers are used more in the screen game while Roddy White recovers from a high ankle sprain.

Week 2 - It was obvious that Jackson was destined to be a big part of the gameplan this week, earning five touches in the first series. He told Fox Analyst Tony Siragusa before the game that he was having trouble staying calm before the game because he was so excited to face his old team. It showed early. Jackson lost two yards off left guard due to penetration from the defensive tackle off right guard into the backfield. Jackson then dropped a short cross as a slot man when rookie linebacker Kevin Ogletree wrapped the runner. Jackson calmed enough to break a tackle at the line of scrimmage and get a couple of yards, but the Falcons' blocking continued to yield little for the backs all day. Just as he was warming up, Jackson left the game with a thigh bruise after scoring a touchdown on a red zone flare route. He did a nice job extending the ball over the goal line and did appear to get hurt on this play, but it's possible with thigh bruises for the leg to tighten up a few plays after the hit that caused the initial injury. Jackson did not return to the contest.

Week 8 - Jackson saw the field for the first time since opening week and his overall performance was disappointing. The Cardinals stacked the line of scrimmage in anticipation of predictable running downs and the location of these runs, stuffing Jackson repeatedly for short gains at best. Even when Jackson had time to demonstrate patience to wait for a hole to develop, linebacker Karlos Dansby did a good job shedding a block and limiting the runner from earning a first down. Although Jackson was used in the passing game, he was often used as a slot receiver in empty sets and targeted facing the quarterback. Jackson is at his best when facing downhill, but when targeted today he'd catch the ball and a defender had a shot to come downhill and hit Jackson. Jackson never got a chance to get into a rhythm thanks to the Cardinals getting an early lead and then playing an aggressive, effective style of defense. Jackson only had two yards after nine carries with nine minutes in the third quarter. Until the Falcons can stretch the field with its receivers or use its big running back in situations that aren't predictable runs up the middle, don't count on Jackson getting into a rhythm.

Week 9 - The Falcons did a solid job blocking on run downs in this game and giving Jackson room to get his pads downhill. Once Jackson has a chance to do this, he's still a beast to tackle. Jackson earned a quick five yards up the middle form a tight trips formation on the first play of the game. The Falcons made concerted effort to get Jackson involved early, feeding the runner the ball on its first four plays over the span of two offensive series. His best plays came in shotgun spread sets, trips receiver sets tight to the formation, or two tight end sets. Atlanta used these alignments effectively to seal the edges of the Panthers defense create gaps off guard. In fact, right guard Garrett Reynolds had a better game than I've seen in a while and he was responsible for some of the larger creases for Jackson. At the same time, Reynolds also held his opponent inside the 20 in the first half and this nullified a touchdown run from Jackson through that hole. While the blocking was better on the whole, there were some mental mistakes and physical matchups in the Falcons' favor and most of them involved Panthers linebacker Chase Blackburn. Jackson also earned red zone touches on the early downs in this game. Don't be surprised if Jackson's role and production continues to grow with the return of left tackle Sam Baker and wide receiver Roddy White. White worked out before the game and appears close to a return, which will open this run game because so many of White's bread and butter plays come off play action.

Week 10 - Atlanta got Jackson involved early, including three straight plays in the first series that ended with a third-down pass under safety Earl Thomas that Thomas jarred loose and forced a punt. It was a similar game script that the offensive staff used with Jackson last week in Carolina with similar results. Almost puzzling that Atlanta was this predictable from one week to the next to begin the game. Jackson repeatedly got stuffed by linebacker K.J. Wright in this game. It wasn't just Wright; Jackson had to negotiate multiple defenders just to reach the line of scrimmage on a few runs against Seattle. Seattle also scouting the Falcons' screen game well enough to recognize and stuff a middle screen to Jackson in the red zone in the second half. The best producers for Atlanta at the running back position this week were Jacuizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling. However, I would warn people reading this not to assume that Jackson looked bad and Rodgers and Snelling were better; the Seahawks expected Jackson to get the ball and filled the gaps or flowed to the ball fast compared to the plays where Rodgers and Snelling received touches. Opposing defenses have a lot of respect for Jackson, know that Atlanta wants to get Jackson goin, and are doing everything they can to stop him early.

Week 11 - The Falcons runner looked good early. He gained 22 yards on his first two carries. He demonstrated burst, repeatedly jumped over wrap attempts low, and bulled forward with good pad level and leg drive. He also caught a few short passes in the flat and earned 7-8 yards on a consistent basis. However, the Buccaneers played well enough early to get a lead and the Falcons' passing game couldn't convert third downs. This led to Atlanta abandoning the run when down 21-3 and Jackson was a non-factor. If Atlanta would decide to stick to the run game even if down 18-21 points, Jackson might become a factor again but right now it seems most of his points come within the first 20 minutes of each game.

Week 12 - Jackson appeared healthy, athletic, and strong throughout the game. He scored on an impressive leap over the pile for a one-yard touchdown in the first quarter. For the rest of the game, he was at his best on shotgun draw plays, demonstrating good burst and second-effort after contact. When Atlanta tried to run inside on more traditional heavy sets, the offensive line could not open creases in the second level and Jackson had to bull through the line just to earn gains of 2-3 yards. Jackson continues to earn more looks than Jacquizz Rodgers and he's playing well enough to keep them even if his teammates aren't supporting him.

Week 13 - Jackson continued to look strong and quick as he has during the past 4-5 weeks. The difference was the revitalized passing game that forced the Bills to respect all of the outside receivers and weapons in the seam and flat in the Falcons' lineup. This gave Jackson more room to run. The right side of the Atlanta line also did a strong job of opening holes for Jackson. The veteran back demonstrated good patience to slide to the open crease and the power move the pile. One of Jackson's better runs was a 3rd and 1 carry up the gut for a 27-yard score. Jackson made the blitzing DB miss at the line of scrimmage with a nice move and it vaulted the back into the secondary where there was only one man to beat. After a six-yard gain picking through traffic, Jackson trotted gingerly to the sideline and missed the rest of the offense's third series, but return in the following series looking no worse for wear. He had a nice stutter step and burst for four yards upon his return and even earned an opportunity on 1st and goal at the one for a score late in the half, but the Bills stuffed the play. He was likely the option on a 2nd and goal from the 1, but Ryan tripped on a lineman's foot and couldn't complete the exchange. This could have been Jackson's third score of the day. Roddy White's performance opened up the Falcons' offense against the Bills. Expect similar efforts and greater balance that will help Jackson's production down the stretch.

Week 14 - Jackson looked good on several runs today. He routinely made defenders miss near the line of scrimmage and also bounced a few runs outside the tackles for strong gains of 10-15 yards. Jackson also earned some first downs catching routes over the middle of the field as the check-down option for Matt Ryan. Late in the third quarter, Jackson took a direct hit to his groin area from a defensive tackle's helmet and missed two series. However, Jackson returned to the game in the early fourth quarter and continued to run with power and agility. It did appear that the Falcons had a habit of removing Jackson from the game after he made 1-2 nice plays in a series that weren't long runs where the back needed a breather, but to use Jacquizz Rodgers in a different package and often without success. Jackson continues to play good football behind a lackluster offensive line if the Falcons allowed the runner to get into a rhythm in the second half this game might have had a different outcome.

Week 15 - Jackson had two short touchdown runs inside the five and nearly had a third if not stuffed twice on a series, including a 4th and one in the second quarter when Perry Riley was in perfect position to deliver a form tackle at the right edge. Jackson had some nice runs in the first quarter, but once Washington got hot at the end of the first quarter, Atlanta abandoned the run game and didn't return to it until late in the second half. Jackson earned four catches in the passing game, but Washington did a fine job of anticipating the short passing game and limited Jackson to five yards, stuffing the running back for short losses on two of these targets. Jackson gives fantasy owners a puncher's chance at multiple touchdowns each week and he earns consistent targets for PPR formats but his yardage efforts are too inconsistent to count on as anything more than an low ceiling RB2.

Week 16 - The Falcons runner looked like the same runner he was in St. Louis. Jackson's 53 yards on 16 attempts isn't impressive statistically, but he had a number of runs of 5-7 yards between the tackles and ran through defenders for these gains. During it's first scoring series in the second quarter, Jackson got nailed by Donte Whitner on a short pass to the right flat and lost possession of the ball while trying to secure the pass. White talked trash to Jackson on the play. During the same series, Jackson did his talking with a two-yard score off left end where he bounced off a hard Whitner hit and left the safety on the ground while stumbling forward another two yards to the goal line. Jackson also ran through multiple Whitner hits for quality gains after his play. But with Atlanta down 10 in the fourth quarter, Jackson was not the focal point of the offense. With Roddy White looking healthier, Jackson's production should be a lot better in 2014 if he remains in Atlanta.

Week 17 - The Falcons running back took a number of tough shots today and continued moving forward for positive gains. He also earned some decent holes up the middle and off the left side with some deft cutbacks and second effort off contact. He also had a 25-yard reception up the left flat when two Carolina defenders collided in the shallow zone after the catch. Give Jackson a line that can generate a push so Jackson can run down hill without a using most of his energy to break tackles within a yard of the line of scrimmage, and Jackson should be a 1300-yard runner in 2014.