I know next to nothing about Marlin Jackson, so just like you I've been spending some time trying to learn what I can about him.
So far, I'm not thinking this presumptive signing is going to solve our free safety problem.
Jackson has suffered season-ending ACL injuries each of the last two years (first the right, then the left). For a sense of how his recovery is going, here's Jackson's own description of how his visit to Baltimore went:
"We were just feeling each other out and getting a sense of what I'm looking for and what they're looking for," Jackson told the team's Web site. "They wanted [to?] wait a little bit and see me move with the fact that I'm coming off an ACL. I need to move a little bit more before going further."
I'm not entirely sure what that all means, but it doesn't exactly sound like "I'm 100 percent and ready to go." (Also, I might avoid the number 28 if I were an up-and-coming NFL prospect.)
The other issue with Jackson is that he's really a cornerback. A big (6-0), slow (4.49 two surgeries ago), cornerback. He mostly played safety in 2006, but it's an open question how well that experience in a Tampa-2 scheme will translate to what the Eagles do on defense.
In fact, that's one nice thing about this signing. It's not like we're all stocked up on effective CBs these days. If the safety thing doesn't work out, maybe he can be a nickel/dime guy.
Some snippets from PFP and FOA:
FOA 2009 -- The big deal for Hayden may mean this is Marlin Jackson’s last year. Jackson is less prone than Hayden to give up the big play through the air but more likely to give up the completion.
PFP 2008 -- Cornerback Jason David's departure to New Orleans caused a domino effect in the Colts line-up: Nickel back and backup safety Marlin Jackson moved into David's cornerback position ... Jackson had a lower Success Rate than David did in 2006, but he also allowed fewer yards per pass, so that switch basically balanced out ... Colts defensive backs also offer solid run support. [Bob] Sanders gets all the headlines and awards, but it was Jackson who placed among the leaders in average yards per tackle on run plays.
PFP 2007 -- New starting cornerback Marlin Jackson played safety most of last season.
Walter Football has him as the #17-ranked free agent CB -- "can't stay healthy."
So we're talking about a guy who has serious injury concerns, played in an entirely different system, and will now probably be asked to make a mid-career position shift. Feels very much like a pre-draft bluff.