Drake Jackson

Drake Jackson shows ‘dangerous' side with three sacks vs. Steelers

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PITTSBURGH — Drake Jackson had every reason to be ecstatic when Nick Bosa signed his lucrative contract extension and rejoined the 49ers to end a 44-day holdout.

In turn, Bosa could benefit if Jackson continues to play like he did on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With Bosa flying off one edge, it always leaves plenty of one-on-one opportunities for the 49ers’ defensive end on the other side. Jackson took advantage of all the attention being paid to Bosa. Jackson sacked Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett three times in the 49ers’ 30-7 Week 1 victory over the Steelers at Acrisure Stadium.

Bosa, for one, was not surprised. He said he was viewing Jackson from afar throughout the summer.

“I was watching tape throughout the holdout and, I mean, it was clear as day that he’s made strides in his work ethic and preparation and all his moves out there,” Bosa said on Sunday.

“He’s really been detailed and put on some weight and he still moves like he moves. He can be dangerous.”

Bosa played approximately 35 snaps on Sunday. He was credited with two tackles and one quarterback hit.

Instead, it was Jackson who filled up the stat sheet.

The 49ers selected Jackson in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft to eventually team up with Bosa. Jackson got off to a decent start with three sacks in his first five games last season, but then lost strength, as well as his spot in the 49ers’ defensive line rotation.

He was inactive for five of the 49ers’ final six weeks, including all three games in the postseason.

The 49ers did not re-sign Samson Ebukam, Charles Omenihu or Jordan Willis in free agency, which paved the way for Jackson to take over as a nickel pass rusher.

Veteran Clelin Ferrell started and played primarily on base downs before Jackson was called upon to rush the passer.

After one game, Jackson already has matched the number of sacks he registered in 15 games during his entire rookie season.

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