Josh Jackson, the 6-foot-1-inch, 192 pound Iowa cornerback heading to the draft as a junior, has caught the eye of many this season thanks to several athletic interceptions. CBS has called Jackson “the nation’s top projected cornerback”, a sentiment seconded by Matt Miller’s recent big board. As a possible Rams draft pick, bringing him to the Coliseum would not be a bad bet with three cornerbacks currently listed as free agents.
Viewing the ‘best of’ tapes of Jackson, two things immediately spring to mind. He can catch the ball, and he can run with it. Well. In 2017, he topped the leaderboard in the Big 10 for interceptions (8), interception return touchdowns (2) and interception return yards (168), averaging 21 yards per interception. His tackling stats are not bad either with 34 tackles and 14 assists for the season.
With the likes of Nickell Robey-Coleman, Trumaine Johnson, and Troy Hill heading to free agency the Rams certainly need to look towards corners in the draft. Also, with Kayvon Webster carrying a ruptured Achilles tendon but expected to be back for the 2018 season, it would be wise of Sean McVay and Les Snead to take a look at Jackson. With his much-hyped one-handed interception against Ohio State, as well as his impressive return yards, he is an attractive prospect for the Rams defense.
Jackson declared for the draft in early January, forgoing his senior year and signing with agents VaynerSports the following week. Daniel Jeremiah, a Media Analyst at the NFL Network, has ranked Jackson as the No. 18 pick. Meanwhile, Land of 10 is predicting Jackson being Green Bay’s pick, ESPN is predicting Jackson goes to Cardinals, and CBS predicting him going to Seattle. It’s still far from certain where he will end up.
Whilst not yet the complete player, the positives are in his favor according to Jeremiah, “Jackson has good size for the position and I love his versatility to play inside and outside.” Jeremiah added, “He has rare ball skills, which creates some spectacular picks. Overall, Jackson might lack ideal twitch and deep speed, but his combination of size and ball skills is outstanding.”
On his 2018 prospects list, Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report commented: “Jackson has everything NFL teams look for in cornerbacks. At 6’1″, he has both size and long arms. His straight-line speed isn’t in question. And Jackson was wildly productive for the Hawkeyes, intercepting eight passes in 2017.”
Picking 23rd makes the likelihood of getting Jackson to the Rams slim, but with all three main possibilities – Arizona, Seattle and Green Bay – making a road trip to Los Angeles in the 2018 season, there is still a good chance that Jackson will play at the Coliseum anyway. With Jackson’s potential for the season, let’s just hope he does as little damage to the Rams offense as possible while he’s there if he ends up on the other side.