Drake Jackson Agrees to Terms with Detroit Lions

Published: May. 2, 2021 at 6:19 PM EDT
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(WYMT) -Recent Kentucky football graduate, center Drake Jackson, has agreed to terms as a free agent with the National Football League’s Detroit Lions. He is the third Wildcat from the 2020 class to join an NFL team as a free agent, joining A.J. Rose (Vikings) and Jamar “Boogie Watson (Steelers).

Jackson, a native of Versailles, Kentucky, played in 47 career games with 44 consecutive starts at center, the third-longest such streak in school history with lineups available since 1993. He was an integral part of UK’s offensive line, the “Big Blue Wall,” who were named semifinalists for the Joe Moore Award, which recognizes the nation’s Most Outstanding Offensive Line, in 2019 and 2020. He also was part of a senior class who won 37 games (most in a five-season span since 1949-53), won 20 SEC games, most in a five-year span in school history, and went to five straight bowl games, tying the school record. During his time at Kentucky, the Wildcats also notched victories over six ranked opponents, ended the 31-game losing streak to Florida and won at Tennessee for the first time since 1984.

In 2020, the four-year letter winner and team captain, graded at 85 percent in 10 regular season games played, missing just one assignment in 627 snaps. He also had 38 knockdown blocks and led the team with 167 blocks at the point of attack. He was on the watch lists for both the Outland Trophy for the best interior lineman and the Rimington Trophy for the nation’s top center. He also earned first-team All-SEC honors by Pro Football Focus and second-team All-SEC accolades by the Associated Press, Coaches and Phil Steele.

Jackson blocked for players who totaled three 1,000-yard seasons, including Benny Snell Jr. (2017 and ’18) and Lynn Bowden Jr. (2019). Snell became UK’s all-time leading rusher.

Jackson graduated in December of 2019 with a degree in agricultural economics and earned a master’s degree in kinesiology and health promotion from UK in December of 2020. He was a two-time member of the SEC Fall Academic Honor Roll.

Jackson joins his former UK teammate, guard Logan Stenberg, on the Lions.

Kentucky/NFL Draft Notes:

· Kentucky’s six NFL Draft picks are the tied for the fourth-most in school history and the most since 1979 (eight). Five of the six picks were defensive players.

· The six picks are the most for Kentucky since the current seven-round draft era began in 1994.

· This marks the second time in the last three years that Kentucky has had five or more draft picks (five in 2019).

· For the second time in the last three years, Kentucky had a first- and second-round pick in Jamin Davis, first round and Kelvin Joseph, second round. Prior to that, you have to go back 42 years to find two UK picks in the first two rounds (Warren Bryant and Randy Burke, first round 1977).

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