The end of the 2022 campaign was the start of a rigorous offseason grind for San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Drake Jackson, who is looking to make Year 2 in the NFL a breakout season.
The second-year pro began training in Santa Clara not long after the 49ers NFC Championship Game loss in preparation for the team's offseason programming that began in mid-April.
"I really just focused in on my body," Jackson said. "Just lifting, trying to get big and focusing in on my mental as well. I know last year everything was kind of a blur. I've just been really settling down and keying in to all my details."
While he did see action in 15 games his rookie year, Jackson's hopes to improve upon his first-year stats (3.0 sacks and 14 total tackles) and see increased playing time in his sophomore season.
Limited late season reps and some motivating words from head coach Kyle Shanahan and defensive line coach Chris Kocurek have served fuel for Jackson's dedicated offseason training.
"You've just got to take it and run with it," Jackson said. "If you take it bad way or a wrong way, it could affect you. I took that, and I ran with it. I made sure I hit those areas in the offseason where I was... not doing the best job at the end of the season.
Really, it's taking that and implementing it in my game now so I can be that man that they saw and (drafted)."
The returns are apparent for Jackson, who has put on a noticeable amount of muscle, to the tune of 13 pounds. Jackson shared that his ideal playing weight is somewhere in the 260 to 265 pound range.
"I feel a lot stronger in general, and I just feel like I can move a little bit different."
In addition to the extra muscle mass, the defensive lineman also made sure to call out his increased strength and new personal records in the weight room.
"For squats, I just hit 415 (pounds) not too long ago and two days ago, I hit 315 for bench," Jackson commented. "Now, I am in the three-plate club. That's a big thing for me because my dad used to always make fun of me because he could do three plates, and I couldn't."
With a bulk of the offseason work already under his belt, Jackson is grateful for the new perspective, strength and mental toughness that resulted from his rookie year and is eagerly looking ahead to training camp.
"It helped me because instead of being mad or sad from being taken out of the game, I figured out things that I needed to do to help myself, to better myself further on."
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