5. Marlin Jackson, CB Michigan 6'1", 200 4.45 (40 Time)
NFL Comparison- Nate Clements, Buffalo
After an impressive start as a true freshman, where he started seven of 11 games, he had an up and down career. As a sophomore, he was inconsistent at best, playing excellent one game and then losing concentration the next. After an off-field incident cost him the first game of his junior season in 2003 (Jackson was charged with assault after allegedly punching a fellow student at a party), he was moved to free safety to accommodate team needs. He played well, but it was an unnatural switch for him. Last year, as a senior, Jackson moved back to his more natural position and while he didn't have outstanding statistics (47 tackles, six tackles for loss, one interception and four passes defensed), he seemed to feel more comfortable as the season went on.
Against the pass-
The only thing Jackson lacks athletically is top end speed. He is physical with receivers and his height and strength allow him to match up well with tall wideouts. He has a smooth hip turn and he breaks well on the ball. He can succeed in man-to-man and zone coverage schemes, but he has the mentality to play bump and run. He challenges receivers and has confidence in his abilities. His route-recognition needs work, but that should come as he matures and studies film more.
Against the run-
There isn't a better corner in the draft at supporting the run than Jackson. His size and strength make him fearless when filling against the run and he is adept at using his hands to fend off blockers. He also is a sure tackler and he will lay the lumber when the opportunity arises.
Roster impact on Seattle-
Since the Hawks have little to no chance of picking up Rolle or Jones, Jackson is an intriguing player to keep an eye on. The Hawks draft late in the send round (22nd, 54th overall) and Jackson may fall that far because of concerns for his off-field issue. If he is available Seattle should take a long look at him. He has the ability to come right in and play as the nickel corner and eventually may be able to relieve Marcus Trufant or Kelly Herndon if either one misses any time. In the wide-open NFC West having an excellent third corner is a must and Jackson fits the bill to a tee.
If he didn't have the one off-field issue, Jackson may have been the third ranked corner on the board. As it is, he is likely to fall into the early or middle part of the second round. Teams like Detroit, Tennessee, Kansas City will give him some looks in the middle part of the second round.
Aside from top end closing speed, Jackson has all the physical tools to be a Pro Bowler. While some may question his attitude and mental make-up, he has proven those worries to be unwarranted. He has stayed away from trouble since his one incident and he switched positions for the team, even though it may have hurt his development as a corner. Ironically, his experience at safety may lead a team to take a chance on him a little earlier than expected because he can rotate between the two positions. Whoever takes a chance on Jackson after round one will be getting superb athlete who may have a big chip on his shoulder.
.NET Reporter Scott
Eklund writes for Seahawks.NET every week. Feel free to contact him at email@example.com.
.NET Draft Spotlight: Marlin Jackson
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