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NFL Draft: Buffalo Bills CB Dane Jackson (Pittsburgh) injury analysis

He’s as healthy as they come.

NFL Combine - Day 6 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

New Buffalo Bills cornerback Dane Jackson was selected in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft, which was much later than most fans had expected to pick at that position. The Bills had passed over talents such as Bryce Hall, Troy Pride, and Kristian Fulton earlier before settling on Jackson. While some of those players may have been more talented than Jackson, the Bills were still able to address other positions of need before the seventh round and avoid taking a risk.

Considering the Bills already have Levi Wallace, E.J. Gaines, and Josh Norman in the room, they feel confident that bringing in Jackson to learn and eventually compete with that group would be better than drafting a more talented player with possible injury concerns in an already uncertain NFL offseason.

Fortunately, Jackson does not have many injury concerns coming out of Pittsburgh. His known medical history is below.

2014 season:

Suffered a torn meniscus in a preseason practice during his senior year of high school. According to reports, he suffered the injury on the left side and did not have surgery to repair the meniscus. He ended up missing the first five games of the season before returning to play in the remaining four games.

To understand proper management of the meniscus after injury, the structure must be understood. The meniscus is two concave structures that are c-shaped and lie over the tibia in each knee. The meniscus is comprised of a medial and lateral meniscus and acts as a shock absorber during activity. The meniscus also help deepen the joint so that the femur can articulate with the tibia, providing stability.

During meniscus tears, a rotational force is applied to the area while the knee is bent resulting in a shearing motion, causing a portion of the meniscus to tear. Based on the type of tear and location, surgery may or may not be recommended.

In Jackson’s case, it appears that he may have suffered a tear that could be managed through rest and rehabilitation. Research has indicated that rehab for a torn meniscus is just as effective as surgery with certain tears. The fact that Jackson was able to come back and play after missing five games indicates that this was the right decision.

2015-2019 seasons:

Jackson took a redshirt year in his first year at Pittsburgh. From 2016-2019, he appeared in 50 games, starting 41. He compiled 148 total tackles, nine tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, four interceptions, 43 pass deflections, four forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. Following his senior season, this culminated in a second-team All-ACC nod. During his four years, he did not suffer any known injuries according to reports.

Bills Injury Impact:

Jackson has been incredibly durable at a highly physical position known for knee sprains, groin and hamstring strains, and other injuries that can cut seasons short. While he is far from a lock to make the roster, he has a legitimate shot due to the age of Norman, the injury history of Gaines, and the uncertainty of Levi Wallace’s shoulder surgery along with (at times) uneven play.

Looking at his overall injury history, his knee is not an issue. He has played the past five years on it without issues. Even considering osteoarthritis, he is still only 23 and the lack of injury over the past few years indicates that he shouldn’t have any problems moving forward through his rookie contract. I am more concerned about soft tissue injuries such as the groin, hamstring, and gastrocnemius strains due to the positional duties. But he is not at risk any more than the others currently on the roster.