2018 NFL Draft Player Profile: 2014 U.S. National Team alum Justin Jackson

By Brent Glasgow | Posted 4/20/2018

Photo via InsideNU.com

Leading up to the NFL Draft April 26-28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas — home of the Dallas Cowboys and the annual International Bowl — we'll take a look at former U.S. National Team players who are draft-eligible this year and hope to continue their football dreams in the NFL.

Justin Jackson, running back, Northwestern

NFL Combine Numbers

Height: 5'11

Weight: 193 

40-yard dash: 4.52 seconds

Bench press (225 lbs): 13 reps

Vertical jump: 38.5 in.

Projected draft position (according to nfl.com): Sixth or seventh round


After he put up the fifth-highest rushing yardage (6,531) and rushing touchdown (85) totals in Illinois high school history at Glenbard North High School, Jackson started five games as a freshman at NU en route to 1,388 all-purpose yards. Over the next three seasons, Jackson cemented his status as one of the most productive offensive players ever in the Big Ten Conference, as he finished his college football career with 5,440 rushing yards (third-best in Big Ten history), 858 receiving yards and 42 total TDs. 

Prior to Northwestern, Jackson was part of the 2014 U-19 U.S. National Team. Here's what he had to say about the experience at this year's NFL Combine in Indianapolis.


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5 Questions at the NFL Combine

Q: How did your time with the National Team prepare you for Northwestern?

A: That was the first time I got to experience being around a bunch of guys from around the country. We went out there and competed with each other, so it was kind of my first taste of what college would be like.

Q: Out of all the things you accomplished at Northwestern, what are you most proud of?

A: Just being consistent and consistently available for my team, showing up in big moments when my team needed me the most. 

Q: How do you think your skills translate to the NFL?

A: I think right now NFL running backs are very versatile, especially the best ones. They can not only run the ball, but step up in pass protection and catch the ball out of the backfield and the slot. That's something I think new-age running backs have to do, and how my game translates.

Q: What did you work on between the end of the season and the Combine?

A: Speed mechanics, specific drill mechanics. That's something that you don't really do when you're training for football in the offseason — just getting that muscle memory down and trying to get that going, so when you're out there you aren't thinking about it.

Q: Did you do anything to prepare for the interview portion?

A: You're just out there talking to a coach, and they're trying to get to know you — asking you football questions, family questions, social questions. It's just going out there and being yourself. 

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