Name: Adoree’ Jackson
Position fit: Cornerback
Stats to know: Tied for PFF’s highest-graded returner in 2016, scoring on two punt returns and two kick returns this past season.
What he does best:
- When he gets the ball in his hands, big plays happen. Scored nine combined touchdowns on defense and special teams, and had six touchdowns on 39 receptions over the past three years.
- Has the speed to keep up with receivers deep downfield. Ran a 4.42 at the combine but long speed is even better than 40-yard dash, with several plays where he ran down running backs downfield in 2016.
- Good ball skills. Had six interceptions and 19 pass breakups over the past three seasons.
- Solid against the run, with the 12th-highest grade against the run among cornerbacks in this draft class.
- Consistent tackler. Missed just four of the 54 solo tackles he attempted in 2016.
- Reacts well to wide receiver screens, giving up just eight yards on the three screens where he was in primary coverage.
- Beaten far too often when lined up in press coverage. Whether he misses the jam or gets worked at the line, press coverage was a boom or bust scenario for Jackson
- Struggles on shorter routes, hitches and slants in particular, against bigger receivers.
- Gives up the middle of the field too easily. Allowed 80.0 percent of the passes thrown into his coverage on slant routes to be caught.
- At 5-feet-10 and 186 pounds, he is a little bit undersized for an outside corner in the NFL.
- Potentially a better fit in the slot, but played just 112 snaps there over the past three seasons, so limited sample size to work with. Allowed nine catches for 101 yards including two touchdowns on those snaps.
Player comparison: Lardarius Webb
Jackson, like Webb before him, is deceptively physical against the run and screens, especially for a player his size. He plays the ball well like Webb does, and both contributed as returners on special teams.
Bottom line: Jackson is an interesting player to evaluate in this cornerback class. He has more obvious flaws than the top cornerbacks in this draft class, but it is possible that his development was stunted by some usage on offense. USC used him on offense because of how special a player he is with the ball in his hands, and while he likely will have some teething problems in the NFL, it is that ability that will make him a Day 1 contributor as a returner, and the type of player who can turn defense into offense in the blink of an eye at cornerback.