Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
6/1”, 192 lbs
40-yd Dash: 4.56 seconds
20-yd Shuttle: 4.03 seconds
Vertical Jump: 38”
2017: 48 Tackles, 8 Interceptions, 26 Passes Defended, 1 Forced Fumble
2016: 10 Tackles, 4 Passes Defended
Unanimous Consensus First Team All
Big Ten Conference Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year
First Team All-Big Ten media
One of three finalists for 2017 Jim Thorpe Award
Semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award
At 6’1” and 192 lbs, Josh Jackson is one of the bigger cornerbacks in the 2018 NFL Draft. He takes advantage of his length in jump-ball situations and thrives covering tall receivers.
Jackson has some of the best ball skills and instincts in this class, he is excellent at finding the football when it’s in the air which helped him lead the nation in interceptions and passes defended this past year. He also came up big in important games and combined for 5 interceptions against Ohio State and Wisconsin, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
He showed the ability to play both sides of the field as well as playing man coverage against the top wide receivers of opposing offenses. He also has a quick break on the football and reads quarterbacks really well.
While Jackson is an asset in pass coverage, he is a liability against the run. He often lunges at defenders and avoids contact, even when taking on blocks. Wisconsin recognized this early and ran toss after toss his way for long gains. Tackling is just as much mental as technique, and right now it doesn’t seem like Jackson is mentally there.
Jackson plays off-man press similar to how Gareon Conley played at Ohio State. What this means is that while he presses, he doesn’t put his hands on the receiver and simply uses his hips to match the motions of the receiver. While Jackson is good at it like Conley was, it gets him in trouble when he faces shifty receivers since he doesn’t use his hands to throw off their route. Ideally, this can be changed with coaching as his press coverage would be greatly improved if he became more physical.
It should also be noted that Jackson only has one year of experience as he was originally a wide receiver at Iowa and then sat behind a talented secondary before he became a starter in 2017.
It is rare for college cornerbacks to show the ball skills and instincts that Jackson has. He possesses the length to be a number one cornerback in the NFL, but he really needs to improve his tackling and physicality. He has the potential to ultimately be the top cornerback from the 2018 class.
Fit with Raiders
The Raiders have a promising cornerback in Gareon Conley, but the rest of the position is filled with question marks as T.J. Carrie will be a free agent and Sean Smith is a likely candidate to be cut. Jackson would pair with Conley to make a young but talented cornerback tandem. The Raiders shattered an NFL record waiting until week 12 to get their first interception of 2017, what better way to fix that problem then by adding the FBS interception leader.