LAKE FOREST – In two instances, he found himself being compared to the greatest. Not only in his franchise’s history, but to the best at his position in the National Football League.
Not bad for a third-year player who still may not have shown his full potential yet for the Bears.
The team named safety Eddie Jackson one of the Top 100 players in franchise history, coming in at No. 96 on a list compiled by veteran writers Dan Pompei and Don Pierson.
“That was definitely a shocker. I wasn’t expecting that at all,” said Jackson of being named one of the Top 100 players in Bears’ history. “There’s a lot of great players that have come through here, so for me to be on there within two-to-three years is a blessing.”
Add that to the praise paid to Jackson by new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, who said that he saw some of the characteristics of new NFL Hall of Famer Ed Reed in the third-year player.
“From a talent standpoint, very, very similar,” said Pagano when asked how Jackson is like Reed, whom he coached in Baltimore. “Great instincts, got great range, great ball skills. He’s only three years into it, Ed has a lot more time on him, obviously, but he’s got a lot of the same traits.
“He loves football, he’s a football junkie, and again, I think the sky’s the limit for that guy.”
That’s quite a bit of praise to come down on Jackson, and frankly, he’s earned it during two outstanding seasons with the Bears. A Pro Bowler and first-team All-Pro in 2018, Jackson has eight career interceptions, three of those for touchdowns, and two other fumble returns for scores since 2017.
Not bad for a fourth round pick who slipped into the Bears’ hands after Jackson broke his leg during his final year at Alabama in 2016. Three years later, he’s one of the cornerstones of top-rated defense that have got their eyes on the Super Bowl.
Jackson has heard the praise showered upon him over the last year, but he’s trying not to let it get in the way.
“I just try to keep getting better. Just look at the little things you can work on and just keep moving forward,” said Jackson. “Just continue to set the bar high for myself and my teammates around me. I’m a competitive guy so I always look to do better than I did the year before.”
In 2019, Jackson will get some help from a fellow Alabama player – Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He signed a one-year deal to take Adrian Amos’ spot next to him in the defensive backfield. The pair were teammates in 2013 with the Crimson Tide, and now team up again in hopes of winning a title in the NFL.
“The type of team that we have, we’ve got one of those defenses just like ‘Bama. I told him, this defense is just like ‘Bama,” said Jackson on what he told Clinton-Dix about the Bears. “I told him that Coach Nagy is one of those coaches that lets us be us, go out there and have fun.”
Of course, Clinton-Dix was quick to praise Jackson like everyone else.
“Just to have that type of athleticism at safety with me, I don’t have to worry about anything next to me, so I’m excited about that,” said Clinton-Dix of Jackson, bringing more praise to a player that’s had lots of it in the NFL so far.