The Chicago Bears released veteran CB Tracy Porter today, yet 11 cornerbacks remain on the current roster.
That said, none of the team's cornerbacks can be counted on as a legitimate, high-level, long-term starting option. A few of the team's young corners have the potential to develop into reliable starters but there are serious question marks with each.
As such, expect GM Ryan Pace to be aggressive in pursuing a top-tier corner early in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore is the consensus top cornerback in this year's class and could be an option for the Bears in the first round. Yet this is a deep secondary class, meaning Pace should be able to easily find a starting-caliber corner in the second round.
One of the top Round-2 options is USC's Adoree Jackson. Let's dive deeper into Jackson, who is a dangerous weapon in all three phases of the game.
CB/RB/KR/PR Adoree Jackson, USC (5-10, 186)
"Jackson has made plays at USC on offense, defense, and special teams. He started at cornerback and receiver as a true freshman against Notre Dame. He was named a Freshman All-American, Pac-12 Defensive Rookie of the Year, as well as honorable mention all-conference (49 tackles, 10 pass deflections, 10 catches for 138 yards, three receiving TDs, two kick-return TDs). League coaches named Jackson a first-team All-Pac 12 defensive back in 2015 (one INT, eight PBUs). He was a second-team pick as a returner and finalist for the Paul Hornung Award as the nation's most versatile player contributing on offense (27-414, two TDs) and special teams (941 total return yards, two punt-return TDs). As a junior, Jackson won the Jim Thorpe Award and was named first-team all-conference and All-American after a strong season (five INTs, 11 PBUs.) He scored four times on returns, two on kickoffs and two on punts. In 2015 and 2016, he earned All-American honors in track. He ran a career-best 10.38 seconds in the 100 meters in the 2016 outdoor season."
-Arguably the most versatile player in the draft. Played CB, RB, KR and PR at USC.
-Athleticism is off the charts.
-Elite speed. Can run stride-for-stride with almost any receiver.
-Speed will help him save a lot of long gains from becoming TDs (see play at 4:26 vs. Alabama below).
-Elusive runner with great balance. Very tough to corral.
-In press man, not afraid to strike receiver in chest and make it hard for him to release.
-Great recovery burst. Rarely allows separation vs. go routes.
-Closes hard on plays in front of him. Willing tackler, decent form (see plays at 2:17 and 3:07 vs. Stanford below)
-Very good change of direction. Can stop and go in an instant.
-Tracks deep ball and times jumps well. Aggressive in jump-ball situations.
-Give him a crease as a returner and he’s gone. Good at staying skinny through tight lanes. Very good vision.
-Dangerous every time he touches the ball on offense due to his burst and speed.
-Lacks ideal size for a boundary corner.
-Tends to shift hips early in press man, which puts him off balance. Physical receivers will eat up him up if he doesn’t keep his squat longer.
-Is often late to react when receivers break, allowing separation.
-Needs to be more consistent with ball security as a returner.
-Susceptible to double moves, pump fakes and ball fakes (see play at 10:05 in Notre Dame film below). Aggressiveness works against him in those situations.
-Bigger offensive blockers can lock him up easily.
Jackson's most attractive feature is his versatility. He could potentially help an NFL on defense, offense and special teams. And in terms of pure athleticism, Jackson is near the top of the entire 2017 class.
He ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at the combine and was very impressive in the field drills, showing off his speed and fluidity.
Jackson is extremely quick and accelerates as if shot out of a cannon. This makes him very tough to throw on, as his combination of burst and speed allows him to close ground in a heartbeat. He does allow some separation when opposing receivers run solid routes but Jackson's burst often allows him to recover and make a play on the ball.
In press man, he's not afraid to hand-check opposing receivers, although he'll need to work on his technique if he's going to be disruptive at the line of scrimmage in the NFL. He played mostly man coverage at USC but did show decent awareness in zone sets.
Defensively, the knock on Jackson is his size. At just 5-10, 186, he'll struggle with big receivers at the next level. He's aggressive on deep balls but doesn't have the girth to compete with powerful pass catchers on 50/50 balls.
As such, Jackson appears best suited for a nickelback role in the NFL, where his size won't hurt him. In the slot, he can fully utilize his quickness and ball skills.
Offensively, Jackson may be able to contribute occasionally, as he's a homerun threat every time he touches the ball, although NFL teams are often hesitant to overuse elite talent. If he does get offensive snaps, it will likely be limited to a handful per game.
As a kick and punt returner, Jackson could elevate a Bears return game that has been dormant since Dave Toub's departure following the 2012 season.
Jackson scored four times as a returner in 2016. In the film against Notre Dame below, he scored once as a kick returner and punt returner, as well as once on offense -- a game that fully demonstrates just how dangerous he could be in Chicago.
He's aggressive hitting holes in the return game and his top-end speed gives him game-changing ability every time he's on the field.
Many mock drafts have Jackson being selected late in the first round, although just as many have him dropping into the second round. With the cornerback depth in this year's class, a 5-10 Jackson may not warrant a Top-32 pick, which could greatly benefit the Bears.
If he does drop out of the first round, Pace would be wise to hop on Jackson. He would provide a substantial boost in the return game immediately and could contribute right away as a slot corner as well, which would make him great second-round value.