Asa Jackson is back in his old bed at his parents' home in Greenhaven, and one perk especially stands out.
"I slept in this morning," said Jackson, a senior cornerback at Cal Poly who played at Christian Brothers High School. "It's great to be home for the draft."
For most players, the NFL draft is a time of sleepless nights filled with anxiety. Jackson said he grew up watching the draft unfold on ESPN, tossing a football to his brother Ade, now at Penn, and fantasizing about draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. breaking down his game.
Now it's about to become reality: He's expected to be the highest-drafted player with Sacramento ties.
"Growing up, friends and I would say that the goal isn't just to play in high school and college, but to play in the NFL, the dream, and now it's here," Jackson said. "After my first year at Cal Poly, I had a feeling I could do this. With all the evaluations, the workouts, to think I went from under-recruited player in high school to potential NFL draft pick is exciting. It's been a whirlwind."
Jackson is a four-time All-Great West Conference pick who started all 45 games for the Division I-AA Mustangs. Considered deceptively strong with good skills and quickness, he impressed at the NFL combine in February, running a 4.4-second 40-yard dash and bench pressing 225 pounds 19 times.
That effort earned him a 70.5 grade, which translates into a middle-round pick.
"I've heard everything from the third to sixth round," Jackson said. "I'm happy it's almost here. I have no idea who will draft me or where I'll be. I know my mom (Karen) is anxious, too. We all are."
Jackson had 54 tackles, two interceptions, seven breakups and nine deflections last fall for Cal Poly and was named a Sports Network All-American. He also averaged 25.1 yards on kickoff returns and 14.7 yards on punt returns, so the team that drafts him will get more than just a cover guy.
"I can do a lot of things," Jackson said. "I'm not sure how I'll handle watching this draft. Watching it has always been a normal thing, every year, and it's good to be with family. My mom helps keep me low-stressed."
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