Projected 40-Time: 4.48
Star Rating: Grade: 85
Draft Projection: 2nd Round
Star rating is based on a prospects standing (as of March 5th) in the 2010 Scout.com Draft Rankings. A prospects grade is measured on the following scale:
85-100 = 1st - 2nd
_70-84 = 3rd - 4th
_55-69 = 5th - 6th
_40-54 = 7th Round - UDFA
Strengths: Jackson is an aggressive, athletic defender who brings an uncanny element of finesse and physicality to the field. He has good size and strength and can muscle up most receivers at the line of scrimmage. He uses his hands well, has the agility and athleticism to blanket receivers throughout their routes and is aware of his surroundings. He diagnoses the action quickly and has an explosive burst out of his breaks to close on the opposition. He’s able to transition with receivers downfield, locates the ball in the air, plants, leaps and has the ball skills to intercept the pass at its highest point. He’s instinctive, forceful up field and defends the perimeter well against the run. He uses his strength to disengage from receivers and takes good angles in pursuit to capture the ballcarrier at the second level. He displays proper tackling technique and wraps up cleanly. He’s a team player and a student of the game; a durable, highly competitive individual.
Weaknesses: He doesn’t play as fast as his straight-line speed suggests and has to improve his lateral agility. He’s an excellent bump-and-run corner, but allows too much of a cushion and can be beat deep when playing off receivers. He has quick feet, but plays a bit high in his backpedal and lacks fluidity in his hips.Steuber Says: A three-year starter at Alabama, Jackson was a mainstay on defense and started 40 of 41 games during his career. Jackson decided to forego his senior season after a junior campaign where he recorded 49 tackles, three for a loss and an interception. At 5-foot-10, 196 pounds, Jackson has a strong, compact frame that will be attractive to NFL teams that run an aggressive style of defense. Jackson enjoys the physical part of the game, and while he lines up as a cornerback, his style will remind you of a safety. There are concerns about Jackson’s ability to transition with receivers downfield, as scouts feel that he’s too stiff and doesn’t possess the lateral agility that’s necessary. There were also questions about Jackson’s straight-line speed, but after he was timed at a 4.48 in the 40 at the Scouting Combine, those concerns were relinquished. Jackson could emerge as a late first round draft pick and may be selected in the 25 – 30 range with the Baltimore Ravens (No. 25) and Minnesota Vikings (No. 30) possibly having the most interest. But it appears that Jackson is destined to be an early-to-mid second round draft pick.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: email@example.com. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.