Drake Jackson’s time as a free agent lasted one whole day before the former Kentucky center found a new home. And he didn’t even have to do any work to find it.
Just one day after being waived by the Detroit Lions, Jackson was awarded to the Houston Texans during the waiver process, meaning multiple teams submitted requests for the undrafted free agent.
Texans reporter Aaron Wilson was the first to break the news.
Texans awarded center Drake Jackson off waivers from Detroit Lions
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) August 10, 2021
Jackson originally signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Lions in May before impressing in training camp, with the Detroit Free Press going as far as reporting the former Wildcat had a good shot at making the roster. With Detroit signing its starting center, Frank Ragnow, to a $52 million deal this offseason and reserve center/guard Evan Brown activated from the Non-Football Injury list last week, though, Jackson’s opportunity to carve out a significant role was minimized.
Houston’s starting center, Justin Britt, signed a one-year deal with the team this offseason, while backup Cole Toner is only signed through 2021, as well. Britt has played in just eight total games since 2018 – zero in 2020 – and was not signed by the Green Bay Packers or Kansas City Chiefs after workouts with both teams in September and January, respectively. Toner, primarily a tackle, has played in just 13 career games with three starts in three years as a pro.
The Texans are in desperate need of finding a first string center after cutting longtime starter Nick Martin back in February. If there was ever a place for Jackson to find early playing time as an UDFA, Houston is the spot.
At Kentucky, Jackson played in 47 career games with 44 consecutive starts at center, helping the Wildcats win 37 total games, the most in a five-season span since 1949-53. In 2020, he graded at 85 percent in 10 regular season games played, missing just one assignment in 627 snaps. Jackson also had 38 knockdown blocks and led the team with 167 blocks at the point of attack.