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Titans UDFA Profile: More than Meets the Eye with LB Matthew Jackson

The Titans signed an exciting hybrid defender at the conclusion of the 2023 NFL Draft

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 12 Eastern Kentucky at West Virginia Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans have reportedly signed a number of undrafted free agents at the conclusion of the 2023 NFL Draft. Eastern Kentucky “linebacker” Matthew Jackson is one of those players. Jackson is a hybrid defender.

Jackson was outstanding for the Colonels in 2022. A Nashville native, Jackson led Eastern Kentucky in tackles with 87 takedowns. Jackson also recorded 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks.

Jackson recorded 199 tackles across the previous two campaigns. Jackson added 18.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 12 pass breakups and two interceptions to his two-year defensive totals. Jackson was an extremely productive player.

Jackson played the linebacker position at Eastern Kentucky, but there’s more than meets the eye. Jackson attended the Titans’ Local Day workout, and spent the majority of the time playing safety, sources told Music City Miracles. The Titans were extremely impressed with Jackson’s workout. Jackson entered the 2023 NFL Draft as a safety despite playing outside linebacker in college.

Safeties coach Scott Booker was in constant contact with Jackson throughout the pre-draft process. The Titans evaluate Jackson as a safety. It makes sense given Jackson’s size and frame.

Jackson is a 6-foot-1, 209 pound hybrid defender. Jackson put forth some outstanding testing numbers at Eastern Kentucky’s Pro Day. Jackson ran the 40 in a blazing 4.51 seconds with an elite 2.53 20-yard split. Jackson leaped a 38.5-inch vertical and 11-foot-2 broad. Jackson also ran a 7.01 3-cone. Jackson earned a 8.09 Relative Athletic Score, and that’s after being dinged for physical shortcomings as a linebacker.

The Titans lack quality depth at safety behind Kevin Byard and Amani Hooker. Last year’s backups were Andrew Adams and Joshua Kalu. Neither player is under contract for 2023. Adams suffered a serious season-ending injury, and Kalu is currently an unrestricted free agent.

The current depth chart at safety indicates Josh Thompson and Mike Brown are the backups. Jackson must acclimate quickly to a new position, but all signs indicate the Hillsboro High School attendee possesses an excellent chance to make Tennessee’s 53-man roster. Jackson deserves your attention throughout the summer.