As the fall camp has progressed and very little information trickles out, we are left to speculate on depth charts and camp performance. While I like to write about stuff that I can see on video, I jump to much more radical conclusions and play with a notebook to write down my crazy theories.
One of the things I keep convincing myself of is the potential that TJ Jackson sees the field this season. Jackson came into VT unheralded. He is massive and a good athlete (played high school basketball) but was introduced to football very late in his high school career. His film was unimpressive, and a bunch of folks questioned the offer. I felt like he had really good size, and if his feet were commensurate with that of an average high school basketball post player, that he would be a guy who could develop (and if not, he would wash out.)
I have been shocked at how good Jackson has looked in pass protection drills. He is smooth, gets great extension, and it seems like it doesn't matter what the defender does-leverage, bull rush, speed rush, he has perfect position and balance throughout the repetition. While I didn't have the benefit of film, I don't recall him blowing assignments in the spring game. While he didn't blow people off the line of scrimmage, he seemed to do a decent job of staying engaged on blocks.
Given the question marks on the right side, I have convinced myself that Jackson, as the likely starting left tackle for 2018, will get some work this season. I could see a scenario where Nijman (who is solid, but had some yips, especially versus Chris Peace of UVA before their genius DC thought it would be a good idea to have his best pass rusher cover Cam Phillips on 3rd down, resulting in a first down and an injury for Peace), could move to the right side. Tyrell Smith (who I am completely confident will start at right tackle, but just in case...) could work at right guard. And Jackson would get work at left tackle.
I doubt it happens, but he has huge natural talent. I hope he has or develops the mean streak and attention to detail needed to be a good run blocker. But, as a pass protector, his upside has me salivating.