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Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Bulkier Drake Jackson ready to attack 2023 with 49ers

May 31, 2023 at 4:46 PM--

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When Drake Jackson stepped up to the podium after Wednesday's practice, there was something different about the San Francisco 49ers' second-year defensive end. He was bulkier, thanks to a lot of offseason work.

"Drake has been here all summer, working out—all spring, rather—doing the things that he needs to do to improve his game," defensive coordinator Steve Wilks said earlier this month. "He's gained a lot of weight. He's in there with [defensive line coach Kris] Kocurek, and I'm just excited to see exactly what he's going to do and how he's going to progress in his second year."

What are Jackson's expectations for his sophomore campaign?

"Just go out and play and just make something happen," the defensive lineman told reporters. "Help the team as much as I can. And that's just coming in each and every day with a focused mindset and just doing what our coach tells us to do, stacking a day, and whatever happens, happens."

Jackson broke down his offseason efforts and what changes he had to implement to improve his chances of NFL success.

"Really, just focusing in on my body, just lifting, trying to get big, and focusing on my mental as well because I know last year, everything's kind of like a blur for me," Jackson said. "So just really settling down and being key to all my details and things of that sort."

Jackson said he fell in love with being at the 49ers facility for countless hours. He worked hard to put on the muscle, something he wasn't as dedicated to last season. Jackson confirmed that he'd gained about 13 pounds since last season, hoping it will add more power to his pass-rushing skills.

"I've been working, and I'm still going," Jackson said.

Jackson has been achieving some personal-best numbers in the weight room. He revealed lifting 415 pounds during squat reps and benched 315.

"Now I'm in a three-plate club," Jackson shared. "That's a big thing. Well, for me, because my dad used to always make fun of me because he could do three plates, and I couldn't; only was two plates. So now I'm in the three-plate club, so I'm happy about that. And the four-plate club for squat."

The increased bulk was necessary. Jackson admits that he wore down toward the end of his rookie year.

"I feel like I didn't have enough," he shared. "So I just come out and keep working and try to have what I need for the rest of the season. ... I just made sure I hit those areas in the offseason where I was failing or not doing the best job at the end of the season."

Jackson was inactive for six of the 49ers' final eight games last season, including each of the team's three playoff contests. That was eye-opening.

"I say it kind of helped me, in a way, because instead of me 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," he said.

Jackson notices the difference compared to his rookie campaign. He feels stronger and has noticed an improvement in how he moves. Jackson could look no further than his teammate, Nick Bosa, to learn how much work has to put in to be among the best defenders in the NFL.

"It's an eye-opener, for sure," Jackson said. "Seeing a guy who can consistently just be Bosa every day, it's definitely an eye-opener. It makes you want to get your stuff together because you see him together all day, so it's like you just want to be right there with him, helping."

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