While players like Oren Burks, Reggie Gilbert, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix looked solid in the Packers’ first preseason game of the year, Green Bay’s 2018 second round pick made the biggest impact. The former Iowa cornerback, Josh Jackson, was everywhere Thursday night. His name was constantly being called as he was making tackles, being in the right position, breaking up passes, and staying aggressive whenever the Titans attacked his zone. Tennessee wide receiver, Tajae Sharpe, who Jackson lined up against most of the evening, could not get any separation from the All-American. One of Jackson’s best plays of the night was a run stop where he did not even record the tackle. The ball was handed off to the left with the intention of bouncing to the outside towards the sideline. However, Jackson quickly shed his block and prevented the run from ever getting extended past the left tackle. He did not make the stop, but he was in the right position at the right time. This forced the runner to the middle where Oren Burks made the tackle. It was the little things that made Josh Jackson stand out. Even his worst play of the night, where he got called for holding, was impressive. First of all, the holding was a very ticky-tack call, it was just great coverage (remember, it is preseason for the referees as well). Second of all, the holding call proved that Jackson is not scared of contact and will get right in the grill of opposing receivers.
In a post game interview with Larry McCaren, Jackson said his biggest takeaway from the game was that it was not what he expected. Plays moved slower than he anticipated and even though he thought he played pretty well, he said he can always get better and make corrections.
His final stat line of only 2 tackles does not jump off the box score, but Josh Jackson showed why the Packers got a steal when his name slipped into the second round. If the first preseason game is any indication how Jackson will play in the upcoming season, I am very excited to see how the 6 foot cornerback will elevate the defense.