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Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Arik Armstead on Drake Jackson’s growth: “I’m a proud vet today”

Sep 14, 2023 at 9:40 AM--

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One San Francisco 49ers veteran expressed his recognition of Drake Jackson's growth. The second-year defensive end tallied three sacks on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, matching his total for all of last season. Jackson's emergence creates a formidable challenge for opposing offenses who now have to deal with him and Nick Bosa on the edges.

Javon Hargrave, this year's prize free-agent addition, and savvy veteran Arik Armstead are in the middle. The latter spoke highly of Jackson's progress, the result of hard offseason work.

"Man, I'm a proud vet today," Armstead said on his new "Third and Long" podcast. "Drake Jackson, year two, man, this kid is extremely talented. He worked extremely hard this offseason to prepare himself for this season, and it's paying off. Three sacks in Week 1. He went crazy, and, man, I love to see it. He's such a good kid. And my teammates and everyone was ecstatic for him.

"Man, that's a huge performance. It's pretty challenging to get three sacks in an NFL game, let alone get one sack in an NFL game. It's hard. But to get three of them, man, it's just amazing. Something I've never done in a game, get three sacks. But for Drake to go out there and have that type of performance was huge for our team."

On Wednesday, Jackson didn't want to boast about the performance, instead praising his teammates' role in the accomplishment.

"Really, those guys were just thrashing, and we all thrash together, and once something opens up, we just want to finish, so that's what we did," Jackson said.

Still, three sacks in the season opener is impressive when you consider he has Armstead and Hargrave between him and the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The second-year pass rusher could be poised for a big sophomore NFL season.

"We're just going to keep going day by day, keep striving for greatness, keep working, and keep trying to get what we can," Jackson said.

Jackson's performance against the Steelers caught the eye of Micah Parsons. The Dallas Cowboys' star pass rusher identified Jackson as a player he will "have to look out for."

"That was pretty cool," Jackson responded when asked about the comments. "Shout-out to Micah Parsons for that. That's a real good shout-out, especially from one of the most prolific pass-rushers in the league. So a big shout-out to him. ... Another guy from another team, and just to see they're paying attention out there in the league, that's real cool."

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