Cincinnati Bengals select McKinnley Jackson with 97th overall pick in 2024 NFL Draft

The stalwart at DT for Texas A&M football over the past few years is headed to Cincinnati.
Sep 30, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman McKinnley Jackson (3)
Sep 30, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies defensive lineman McKinnley Jackson (3) / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

McKinnley Jackson selected by Cincinnati Bengals with 97th overall pick, sneaking into top 3 rounds

One of the best players on a great 2023 defense for Texas A&M football is now off the board. Late in the third round of the 2024 NFL draft, the Cincinnati Bengals made the decision to draft DT McKinnley Jackson with the 97th overall pick.

McKinnley was not a guy that many expected to go this high in the draft. Though Aggie fans are well aware of Jackson's value as a player, scouts were not as high on him after his 2023 season. Jackson was one of the most impactful players on a great defensive line for the Aggies, but draft experts were not convinced.

A low 40 time at the NFL combine didn't help Jackson's stock, either. Of course, nose tackle is one of the positions where your 40 time is less relevant, but it did give the mock drafters another excuse to bump him down a rung or two.

The Bengals, however, seemed more bullish on Jackson's future. As I said, this is not at all where Jackson had been projected, but Cincy evidently felt they needed to get their guy.

McKinnley Jackson brings an explosive first step, immense strength, and an underrated ability to rush the passer. Cincinnati fans will be pleasantly surprised with his ability along the defensive front to reset the line of scrimmage and pop free into the backfield every once in a while.

Jackson was a highly-touted four-star recruit out of George County in Mississippi. His recruitment came down to the Aggies, Alabama, and LSU. That he chose Texas A&M football was one of the bigger wins in the 2021 class for Jimbo Fisher and his staff.

I have no doubt that Jackson will be a productive player at the next level, despite his slide in the projections. I think Cincy selecting him here is reflective of a similar confidence. Congratulations, McKinnley!