Warren Jackson, CSU Rams WR, profiles as day 3 NFL Draft prospect

In a breakout season at Colorado State in 2019, Warren Jackson earned first-team All-Mountain West honors after racking up a team-leading 77 catches for 1,119 yards and eight touchdowns.

If you ask Jackson — who opted out of the abbreviated 2020 college football season — that showing was just a prelude.

And he’s more than ready to show it ahead of CSU’s Pro Day on Monday morning in Fort Collins.

“That was me just getting started,” he said. “I’m a lot faster now, I’ve learned a lot of new tricks, I’ve learned about myself a lot more. I’m a lot stronger. I’m just a completely different person and player than I was then. And I was injured — the (last six games), I had a grade 3 sprained AC joint, so people are evaluating year-old film where I was injured throughout the stretch of that season.”

Jackson’s determined mindset was cemented ahead of his breakout year in Fort Collins, as he re-dedicated himself to his training. He said that allowed him to “unlock a lot of different things” in his game.

“It all started in the offseason,” ex-CSU wideout coach Joe Cox said. “He took it to a different level in terms of what he put in and what he ended up being for our room as far as being the leader of the group. In the weight room, he pushed himself to some places where he might not have thought he could go. He was training, practicing and playing like he was a man on a mission.”

But it wasn’t always smooth sailing. Jackson posted only 15 catches as a freshman. After that season, he learned his father had brain cancer.

“That was something that was very difficult for me to get through from afar,” Jackson said. “Talking to my coaches and teammates about it, and just having that support system with me through it was something that really helped me out. I had to re-tap back into my faith, and I talked to the team chaplain a lot, Pastor Johnny Square. Having those people around me helped me out and also gave my career a boost. It made me want to go a lot harder once my dad got better (and made a full recovery).”

Jackson showed more promise as a sophomore in 2018, ranking third on the team with 32 receptions for 405 yards. That included his first highlight-reel college game, a 105-yard performance against Boise State.

In Cox’s eyes, Jackson’s evolution as a vertical threat came to a head in 2019 as the 6-foot-6 wideout was difficult to cover in “50/50” jump-ball situations.

“You know when the ball is in the air, it’s a way higher chance than a 50/50 ball with Warren,” Cox said. “He is one of the best I have ever seen in those situations. He’s such a mismatch size-wise, he has such strong hands, he competes for the ball like no one that I have seen. His ability to judge the ball and the mindset he has when the ball is in the air is really good and will translate (to the NFL).”

ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. agrees, as Kiper believes Jackson will hear his name called somewhere between rounds four and seven.

“The size, the ability to just go get the football and high-point it — he’s been able to do that (consistently),” Kiper said. “He’s quick and he’s got enough of a burst. He’s an interesting guy (for teams) to think about, and I think on Day 3 we’ll be talking about Warren Jackson.”

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