49ers' moves at NFL trade deadline show no confidence in Drake Jackson

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Drake Jackson
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Drake Jackson / Michael Owens/GettyImages

Drake Jackson was supposed to be the 49ers' breakout player in 2023, but the team's NFL trade deadline moves suggest they're not anticipating anything of the sort.

There was no shortage of hype surrounding second-year edge Drake Jackson as he entered San Francisco 49ers training camp last summer.

After a 2022 rookie campaign that was both promising and disappointing, literally in that timeline from beginning to end, the second-round pick in that year's NFL Draft out of USC was supposed to finally hit his stride in 2023, one in which he'd be one half of the pairing with All-Pro edge Nick Bosa.

After one week, it looked as if that'd be the case. Jackson recorded three sacks in the Niners' regular-season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Since then, though, almost nothing.

Making matters worse for Jackson, San Francisco appears to be casting him off to the backburner, as evidenced by both snap counts, and more importantly, big-time moves at the NFL trade deadline.

49ers no longer have trust in Drake Jackson (and it shows)

Despite the hot start, Jackson is now down to playing just over 38 percent of the 49ers' defensive snaps. As far as the depth chart is concerned, veteran edge Clelin Ferrell is significantly above him with almost 100 more snaps than Jackson's 199.

Additionally, over the last three games, the Niners have placed one of their pre-NFL trade deadline pickups, defensive end Randy Gregory, into more key situations than Jackson.

In fact, Gregory's acquisition from the Denver Broncos was meant to reinforce what was a struggling pass rush behind Bosa, who himself has just three sacks on the year. Even if Gregory was intended to be little more than just a rotational defender, he would inevitably take snaps away from Jackson.

Then, though, San Francisco doubled down on its pass-rushing reinforcement quest.

By adding former Washington Commanders edge Chase Young just prior to Tuesday's trade deadline, the 49ers now have two former No. 2 overall draft picks in both him and Bosa, who interestingly enough both played at Ohio State.

Jackson, now buried on the depth chart behind Bosa, Young, Ferrell and Gregory, seems to be little more than just an afterthought.

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