The New Orleans Saints completed their 2022 NFL Draft on Saturday, April 30 with the addition of two defensive players expected to provide depth and quality special teams play.
In the fifth round, with pick No. 161 overall, New Orleans selected Appalachian State linebacker D'Marco Jackson. And with their final pick in the draft, No. 194 overall in the sixth round, the Saints drafted Air Force Academy defensive tackle Jordan Jackson.
"Felt good about the guys we added today, the Jackson Twins," Coach Dennis Allen said, smiling. "We added to our depth, we added to our competitiveness on our team, and felt like both defensively and in terms of special teams, added some value to our team."
Jackson, the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year, had 120 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, six sacks, an interception, five pass breakups, a forced fumble and 27 quarterback pressures last season.
"I'll say my strengths are just my instincts, my preparation," D'Marco Jackson said. "Just being a ballplayer, high IQ. I'm ready to play any position they need me at – Will, Mike (linebacker). I'm a great special teams guy as well.
"In our type of defense, everybody plays the same position. So I'm just ready and excited to get to work."
He said he also believes he can make an impact as a pass rusher.
"I feel like if you watch my tape, I feel like I get back there pretty good," he said. "I feel like that's something I can hone in on more and make some more things happen."
"We felt like he was an athletic player, we felt like he had a lot of the qualities that you've heard me talk about in the last couple of days," Allen said. "Here's another guy who's really tough, he's smart, he's versatile, he's highly competitive, he was a two-time captain there. We felt like he was somebody that fit into our system, can do some of the things that we're asking to do. We felt like there was a lot of things that he could provide to our team that would benefit us."
Jordan Jackson had 7.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss and 41 tackles last season at Air Force.
"I'm a guy always ready to work, down in, down out, always there," Jordan Jackson said. "Reliable. Fast, athletic, just somebody who's always there ready to play."
He missed the 2020 season after suffering a shoulder injury, then deciding to opt out of the season due to uncertainty over the season because of Covid-19.
"It was a little tough," Jordan Jackson said. "Never missing a game before high school and then unfortunately, getting injured before that season, needing to get surgery and taking that semester off. It was kind of tough.
"That was the Covid year so we didn't know if we were going to have a season, so when they ended up having a season, watching some of those guys I was supposed to graduate with finish out that season and play those games, it was a little bit tough. But knew I was going to have another season to come back and work, come back and be a better version of what I was the year before."
That version led him to the Saints.
"He's more of an interior defensive lineman," Allen said. "Great kid, highly intelligent, graduate of the Air Force Academy – lot of really good qualities about the player. Really like some of the things he can do from a pass rush standpoint inside.
"Speed, explosiveness, size, length, those are some of the athletic qualities that we really like about the player. Felt like he was somebody that could come in and compete and develop and can help us as an inside defensive tackle."