Adoree’ Jackson, CB, USC
5’10 186 lbs
Tape Viewed: 2016 vs. Cal, 2016 vs. University of Washington, 2016 vs. Notre Dame
Jackson is definitely a mixed bag in terms of his prospects as an NFL cornerback. He has the attitude, confidence, short memory and athleticism to excel as a number 1 outside corner in this league. What he lacks is consistency, versatility in his skillset, and the ability to translate that elite athleticism into his coverage.
It’s quite bizzare watching the incredible fluidity of Jackson when he returns kicks and punts, versus the stiffness that shows up from time to time on tape in man coverage. Jackson is at his most comfortable rallying to the football, reading the QB’s eyes and contesting at the catch point. He did, however, have a brilliant game against Notre Dame in which he flashed press, bump and run capabilities. Too often, though, he loses his footing to give up huge plays, as he did in man against Notre Dame’s Kevin Stepherson and UW’s John Ross.
Jackson will immediately bring an electric edge to any team’s return game. I believe he has the ability to have a Devin Hester-like impact in that area with four kick return TD’s and four punt return TD’s in college to his name. Teams will need to be patient with bringing him along as a coverage man though, he needs to be coached up on his technique, but has all the traits to thrive, especially in a zone-heavy scheme.
Play Recognition: 8 out of 10
By no means a weakness in Jackson’s game, it’s clear that coaches told him to run bail technique against John Ross to avoid the big play. In the other two games I reviewed, Jackson consistently puts himself in solid position to affect the play, however he got toasted by Notre Dame’s Kevin Stepherson on a sluggo which resulted in a TD.
Speed: 5 out of 5
Just watch one play and you know you’re dealing with elite, game-changing speed. This stretches into his agility and acceleration as well. More often than not, he’s an ultra-explosive athlete.
Mirroring: 8 out of 10
An area of the game that has improved steadily over his career, it doesn’t seem that Jackson has any issues following receiver movements in terms of recognition, but his footing causes him to trip up more often than you’d like to see from an elite prospect.
Pursuit: 5 out of 5
This is the single greatest attribute Jackson possesses, and likely what makes him such a great returner, he closes so well, and he loves it. You’ll constantly see Jackson trick QB’s into thinking he’s left his man open, only to jump in front of the ball and snag a pick or PBU.
Man: 11 out of 15
This is not so much of an indictment of his abilities going forward, because he has improved greatly in this area, but nearly every bad play Jackson has on tape is in man coverage. Make no mistake, he has many good plays as well. He has the attributes you want in man, but must take coaching to learn how to use his feet better.
Zone: 15 out of 15
There isn’t a better zone corner prospect in this draft. Jackson, in a zone-heavy scheme, could be an immediate impact starter in the NFL. His natural ability and fluidity in the return game translates perfectly to his zone coverage. He’s an absolute playmaker when he’s reading the QB’s eyes.
Press: 3 out of 5
The Notre Dame tape shows a lot of reasons to expect this area to improve going forward. Jackson looked natural bumping with one hand in press and flipping his hips to perfectly mirror receivers downfield. He just doesn’t do it often enough to warrant a higher score.
Tackle: 2 out of 5
This is a concerning area. He has one outstanding form tackle on tape, that’s it. He also has one impressive open-field tackle of John Ross. Both times, he needed help to bring his man down. There are also a few bad misses on tape in which Jackson throws his body out of position, to somewhat comical results.
Ball Skills: 5 out of 5
Another area where Jackson might just be the best in the draft, his 5 interceptions in 2016 are insane when considering he’s the single most talented member of that USC secondary, and QB’s didn’t challenge him much. That’s not even to mention his 28 career PBU’s.
Tackle: 3 out of 5
It’s tempting to give this an incomplete, because he only has two tackle attempts on running backs on tape, which are successful. However, he consistently puts himself in position as a last line of defense and often allows tackles to happen by maintaining lane discipline.
Play Recognition: 5 out of 5
Jackson plays like the savvy three-year starter he is, and that doesn’t change against the run, in which he immediately (and often quicker than most members of the secondary) rallies to his position as a run defender.
Willingness: 2 out of 5
This is not to say he doesn’t like being a run defender, more that he doesn’t like being directly involved. Jackson prefers to become essentially a deep cover safety when a run play develops, trusting his speed and athleticism as the last line of defense. This approach has its merits and will be appreciated by some NFL scouts, though I would really like to see a nastier demeanor from Jackson.
Injury: 10 out of 10
This guy has started nearly every game since week 1 of his first year as a true freshman. And that’s while playing in all three phases of the game. You couldn’t find a more encouraging sign that injuries won’t be a systemic issue in his NFL career.
Total Prospect Rating: 82 out of 100
Pro Comparison: Josh Norman, CB, Washington Redskins
While it is incredibly difficult to find a player with the exact (and incredibly unique) skillset of Jackson, Norman shares the same ultra-confidence, short memory and explosive pursuit which I expect will propel Jackson to quick success in the NFL as an outside corner.