After his hometown Tennessee Titans drafted him the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draftnow former Tennessee defensive back Theo Jackson was given a new shirt number ahead of the official start with his new team. The No. 204 overall draft pick will officially begin his pro career at Tennessee rookie minicamp later this week. Having worn No. 26 during his five seasons with the Vols, Jackson is move to No. 29 for the Titans.
The Nashville native, who played on the road to Nissan Stadium at John Overton High School before signing with Tennessee as part of the 2017 class under head coach Butch Jones, turned an All-SEC season in 2021 into the opportunity to be drafted by his hometown team. Jackson was Tennessee’s fourth leading tackle (78) as a super senior season and became a leader and playmaker for his team’s defense. He led SEC defensive backs in tackles for loss (nine) and ranked second in the conference in pass breakups (12).
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Although Jackson was not invited to Reese’s Senior Bowl or the NFL Scouting Combine, the Titans took a close look at the player both at Pro Day in Tennessee, where he clocked 4.46 seconds 40, and at the Pro Day the franchise hosted for Nashville-area Prospects.
“Tennessee coaches, when asked about their prospects, continued to rave about Theo and what he meant to their football team,” Titans general manager Jon Robinson said after the draft. “Play it safe, play nickel, can play an outside corner. Kind of a versatile piece there in the secondary.
The 6-foot-1, 198-pound Jackson played safety in his first three seasons at Tennessee before moving to the Star/Nickel position in the 2020 season. He remained at the position as the Vols changed sides. coaching staff for the second time in his career, and he thrived for coordinator Tim Banks in 2021. Jackson also played safety for part of the win at Missouri and moved to cornerback in their Tennessee final at the Music City Bowl as the Vols called on his versatility due to injuries and other absences.
As a sixth-round pick, Jackson is set for a four-year rookie contract worth a total of $3,852,452, including a guaranteed signing bonus of $203,748.
“I’m not going to lie to you, I’m going through so many emotions right now, but this is the best feeling,” Jackson said after being drafted by the team he grew up watching games from. “To grow up in Nashville, go to school in Tennessee, then come back for the pro ball. It’s really… I can’t even think of words to say right now. I’m just excited. I can’t wait to get to work.