Ability to adjust attractive trait in ex-Ohio State football lineman Jonah Jackson

Joey Kaufman
Ohio State offensive lineman Jonah Jackson, a graduate transfer from Rutgers, played for five offensive coordinators in his collegiate career. [Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press]

INDIANAPOLIS Jonah Jackson proved a quick study last year.

When the offensive lineman transferred to Ohio State for his senior season, it required him to ingratiate himself with a new locker room and learn an offense that featured a different playbook.

A similar adjustment awaits this spring.

While Jackson prepares for the NFL draft in April, his possible selection will prompt him to join another team with its own approach.

It’s nothing new, he remarked Wednesday while meeting with reporters at the league’s scouting combine. By the time his college career ended, one that began at Rutgers and ended with the Buckeyes, he had played for five offensive coordinators.

“I can learn different things, pro style, spread; I've been through it all,” Jackson said. “So it shouldn't be too much of a transition. Besides, we’re now getting paid to do the thing we love.”

He has often shown a willingness to adapt.

Jackson first played center and then right guard at Rutgers. He started at left guard for Ohio State last fall.

In interviews with teams at the combine, they discussed using him at all three spots along the interior of the offensive line.

Any of them is fine with Jackson.

“Hey, wherever they need me, I'm ready to go,” he said. “If they need me at quarterback or tackle, I'm ready to go.”

During his pre-draft training in Atlanta, he said he has worked out at all three spots.

“So I can go wherever right away and start,” he said.

Because of his size, he is unlikely to be an offensive tackle, a position he played in high school. Jackson measured 6 feet 3 and 306 pounds at the combine, shorter than typical tackle prospects, who are at least 6-5.

While his final season with Ohio State offered another instance of his versatility along the interior of the offensive line, it was also his biggest stage.

After playing for a Big Ten cellar dweller, one that never qualified for a bowl game, Jackson joined a team that went undefeated in the regular season and reached the College Football Playoff, a run that put him in front of more NFL scouts and made him a more visible prospect.

When asked if he felt his draft stock had improved by his season at Ohio State, Jackson said, “I’m not sure, exactly.”

“I definitely feel like it helped me playing at Ohio State,” he added, “but I was going to play ball regardless of where I was at.”

He left with a feeling of improvement, as evidenced by his all-Big Ten selection in December.

“I definitely feel like I'm a better player, just because of maturity and better understanding of the game and constantly working on different things that I needed to improve on from 2018 to 2019,” Jackson said. “That’s a whole year of work to get better.”

Whether he slides in at left guard, right guard or center in the NFL, Jackson said his best traits would translate regardless of the particular spot on the offensive line.

“My ability to sustain blocks, being a finisher, being tough, being nasty and just being a leader,” Jackson said. “Helping guys out on and off the field and changing the culture of things.”


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