Draft prospect: Marlin Jackson

As the NFL Draft nears, Packer Report will review college prospects that some draft experts feel the Green Bay Packers will select. Today, we look at University of Michigan defensive back Marlin Jackson, who has played cornerback but has the size necessary to fill a gaping hole at safety for the Packers.<p>

The Packers lost starting safety Darren Sharper (Minnesota) and reserve safety Bhawoh Jue (San Diego) in free agency this month. Green Bay has yet to fill Sharper's position by signing a veteran free agent, so it is expected that the Packers will use the draft to find a starter to team with Mark Roman.

Lane Adkins of Scout.com predicts that the Packers will select Jackson with the 24th overall pick in the first round of the April 23-24 draft. "He has the size to play safety and the speed and coverage skills to play cornerback. Green Bay lacks quality and depth at both positions, placing Jackson in a great position," Adkins says.

Here is more information on Jackson, according to Scout.com:

Ht: 6-1

Wt: 198

40 time: 4.63

Year: 4Sr

Bio: Four-year starter and All-Conference selection as a senior after posting 47/1/4 from his cornerback position. Started seven games at safety as a junior totaling 50/2/4.

Positives: Physically gifted secondary prospect with a good degree of upside potential. Sized well, technically sound, and an outstanding athlete. Fluid transitioning with opponents off the line, physical and bumps throughout routes. Excellent footwork in reverse, displays an explosive plant and break on the ball, with a quick burst of closing speed. Locates the pass in the air, boxes out opponents and battles to defend the throw. Tough defending the run. Displays skill in both press and zone coverage.

Negatives: Coming off an average senior season when he seemingly played back on his heels and continually got caught out of position. Did not display a sense of timing last season, looking hesitant and indecisive on the field. Has had prior off-the-field concerns that resulted in suspension.

Analysis: A one-time highly considered prospect many thought would be a top-ten pick, Jackson's underachieving play as a senior, as well as off-the-field issues (assault charge) previous to last season, have pushed him down draft boards. Possesses all the tools needed to be a big- time player at the next level but must get his game back on track, focusing on the task at hand for sixty minutes. A prospect who could end up starting as a rookie if he hits on all cylinders or be a career journeyman in the NFL.

Jackson's NFL Combine quotes:

Toughest receiver he faced: "Going against Braylon everyday."

As for who got the better of that battle? "I won more than my share. It got pretty physical, the coaches would have to break it up some times."

On which position he will play: "Some want me at safety, some want me at corner."

On his position preference: "I would rather play corner."

On the new NFL contact rules: "Just don't touch them after five yards."

Note: Packer Report will review Iowa defensive end Matt Roth on Friday.

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