The need for really reliable cover corner becomes ever more pressing as the passing attack in NFL offenses has become the most prevalent phase of the game. He was also one of the most dynamic players in college football, making huge contributions in the offensive and return games. For both these reasons, Adoree’ Jackson will be a hot commodity in the daft, and a first round pick.
Starting with measurable talent, he is 5’11” and 185 pounds, which makes him a little bit of a smaller player but is a blur on the field, posting a 4.43 40 yard dash headed into the 2016 season. His most valuable talent, however, is how he plays the ball in the air. Whether on defense, offense or special teams he can get after the football. People have a tendency to call every corner a ball hawk, but in reality there are actually very few. The way Adoree’ can locate and track a ball through the air, particularly on defense, is truly special. That’s why he has 28 career passes defended and six career picks.
So with that in mind, where does he go in the draft? Where he is a great fit? And who is he most comparable to so that we can get an idea of his ceiling?
Pro Comparison - Patrick Peterson / Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie
Both light weight corners that use speed and ball skills to play and beat their man in coverage. Both also have a silky grace when moving with the ball through traffic after a pick or on special teams. While Jackson’s days on offense are most likely over, there is a really good chance that he could serve a team on punt returns and kickoffs. Jackson is long and fast, like these players, which means he can use his reach to make play on a ball without drawing a flag for too much contact, or bait a quarterback into a bad throw by leaving space and then using his closing speed to defend the pass.
Where He Goes and How He Fits
Usually players get drafted by one team, while another team would have been a perfect fit. However, Adoree’ has a great opportunity to get drafted by a team where he would fit in famously.
The Baltimore Ravens would be a great landing spot for Jackson, and while lots have them drafting along the defensive line, they also need a stud in the secondary as well as the punt return game. They may move some players around to get rid of Lardarius Webb because of his big cap hit. The Ravens have always been good at developing defensive talent and he would fill the roll of Jacoby Jones and Devin Hester in the return game. The Ravens will put him in a great spot to succeed in two phases of the game they are perennially great in, which will make Jackson an immediate impact player.
Next Man Up for the Trojans
So who fills in for the departing Jackson, who helps fill the void in production when he leaves?
There are always promising recruits coming into USC every season, but the next star corner is most likely on the roster already. Redshirt sophomore Ajene Harris has the most experience and time around the program to step up and make plays. His frame is relatively the same as Adoree’s but he has a nose for plays behind the line as well as in the passing game, shown with his 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack last season. Another player to watch is freshman Jack Jones, who has far less experience but is such a great athlete that it is hard to believe he will not make an impact in his second year.