Mon, 04 Jul 2022

Jim Wyatt

NASHVILLE - The commute to Theo Jackson's first day on the job in the NFL was about as long as his trek to high school.

And now, at age of 23, it's one of the perks to his new gig.

"I live 15 minutes away from here," Jackson, who grew up in Antioch and prepped at John Overton High School, said with a smile during rookie minicamp. "So, I can go home, talk to mom, talk to dad, my brothers. Just having my family there to me support (is great)."

A defensive back who played in college at the University of Tennessee, Jackson made a nice debut in his first weekend on an NFL field.

Jackson, selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft, intercepted quarterback Malik Willis during Saturday's session, and he nearly had another pick. He was around the football on several plays.

Not a bad start for a guy who grew up a fan of the Titans, along with the rest of his family.

"It was surreal," Jackson said of putting on a Titans helmet and jersey for the first time. "I just grew up watching them, just watching them and going to games, and now I can go out here and be with them, next to them, playing with them. It's been crazy, but I've been trying to stay level-headed and have that next day mentality."

Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Jackson impressed him during the pre-draft process.

"I enjoyed meeting him when he came for the local day, a kid who is from right up the street there at Overton," Vrabel said. "I just liked his attitude; he answered a bunch of questions right. ... I think he is really going to be a nice addition to our team."

Jackson (6-1, 198) started 12 games for the Vols in 2021, when he tallied 78 tackles, one interception and 1.5 sacks, along with nine tackles for a loss and 12 quarterbacks hits.

In his college career, Jackson played in 56 games, and he recorded 190 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss a pair of interceptions.

Jackson played the STAR position with the Vols, a spot that required a certain skill set since it meant playing safety, cornerback and linebacker.

"You have to be tough, you have to be smart, and fast," Jackson said. "You have to be a ball player."

With the Titans, Jackson plans to learn as much as possible, as fast as possible.

He's been on the field with veterans this week at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

Jackson's mission is to build trust with his coaches and teammates.

"Just trying to learn the ins and outs of being a safety," he said. "I know how to play safety, but I need to know all the smaller details of how to play safety in the league.

"It's been great (being out here). To come out here, and finally play football. I am learning to be a pro, learning the scheme and all that."

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