Austin Ekeler has been the RB1 of the LA Chargers for several years now and behind him for a few of those years was former Northwestern running back, Justin Jackson. Jackson was selected in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft and was a shifty back with a high ceiling of potential.
After four years with the Chargers, Jackson moved on and spent the 2022 season with the Detroit Lions. That would ultimately be Jackson's last season in the NFL as the Lions announced on Thursday that he was placed on the reserve/retired list.
Jackson finishes his NFL career with five seasons played. In those five seasons, Jackson tallied 1,210 rushing yards, 609 receiving yards and six total touchdowns.
Justin Jackson was always a massive "what if" on the LA Chargers.
Justin Jackson showed a lot of potential during his time in the powder blue and there were moments in which he looked primed to take on a bigger role and prove his value in the league. However, Jackson could never put together an extended streak of this success as injuries typically got in the way.
That is likely the primary reason why the Bolts let Jackson leave after the 2021 season despite the running back room being so thin behind Austin Ekeler. If Jackson could have proven that he was durable then his career could have gone much differently.
Jackson turned in several notable performances throughout the career but the one he should be known for was in his rookie season against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With Melvin Gordon out of the game and Austin Ekeler banged up, Jackson had to take on more responsibility in the primetime game against the Steelers.
After a slow first half that resulted in the Chargers being down 23-7, the rookie running back exploded for a great second half. He finished with eight carries for 63 yards and a touchdown; all of which came in the second half.
Jackson joins Nasir Adderley in early retirement as the 2019 second-round pick announced his retirement after his rookie deal ended with the Chargers. All of us here at Bolt Beat wish both Jackson and Adderley the best in their new, retired lives.