It goes without saying, but the Green Bay Packers need major help in the secondary. Now that the Packers shipped out their best corner, statistically, from 2017, the Green and Gold need major help.
Since key starters like Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, and Casey Hayward left the Packers secondary has struggled. There have been some bright spots, however. The rookie Kevin King has shown promise, Ha Ha Clinton Dix has contributed in positive ways, and Morgan Burnett has been the veteran leader all the young players needed.
However, the Packers secondary continues to be in the bottom third in the league. While trying to find immediate starters in free agency will hopefully happen, the draft is where you find young talent and groom them to become valuable starters in the long run. This is where Iowa cornerback, Josh Jackson comes into play.
Jackson is arguably the best coverage corner in this draft. He led the FBS in interceptions, with eight. Three of those came in a huge upset win over Ohio State. He also had two pick-sixes versus Wisconsin the following week. He added 18 pass defenses during his impressive 2017 season. He also only allowed a 41.3 completion percentage. The one thing that stands out for Jackson, isn’t his amazing coverage stats. It’s how hard it took for him to reach where he is now. After being redshirted his freshman year, Jackson started one game the next two seasons. He had to work hard for everything in his career. Now he has the chance of being an NFL superstar. He also had one of the best 20-yard shuttles at this year’s combine. That means he has some of the best quickness and change-of-direction ability in the draft. Jackson has some experience as a wide receiver too, which can be attributed to his stout ball skills.
Clearly, the coverage stats are there. He would be an immediate upgrade to the Packers secondary. However, after watching highlights of Jackson, it almost seems as if he is scared to tackle opposing players. He didn’t run the best 40-yard dash at the combine either. A 4.56 isn’t bad, it’s just many expected better from Jackson. Another thing that worries me about Jackson is the lack of playing time he had at Iowa. In four years, he started 14 games, the majority coming in his senior year. He has been classified as a “one-year wonder” by many draft “experts.” The lack of experience may come back to haunt him, especially early in his career.
When will he be drafted?
Before the NFL Combine, most had Jackson as a lock for the top 15. After his below-average outing, he dropped down draft boards a bit. Jackson isn’t even considered a lock for the first round anymore. He will be able to show off one more time to improve his draft stock at Iowa’s pro day at the end of March. He should be available when the Packers go on the clock with the 14th pick. However, there is an outside chance he slips down to day two of the draft. If he does, he is an early 2nd round pick.
How does he fit onto the Packers?
Jackson’s coverage skills would make him an immediate starter, as he would be a huge upgrade for the weak Packers secondary. He plays his best defense on the outside. Pair him with last year’s first selection for the Packers, Kevin King, and you have one of the best young coverage duos in the league. However, if the Packers sign a free agent corner or two, it would really help the development of Jackson. His lack of playing time at Iowa scares me. He needs more time to develop, if you give him that time, he could be a huge contributor down the road.