The Jets went in a really interesting direction with their first undrafted free-agent signing. Joe Douglas added Nebraska cornerback Lamar Jackson to a stacked Jets’ secondary. Jackson brings competition at the cornerback position heading into preparations for the 2020 NFL season.
Collegiate Career (Nebraska)
Jackson played ten or more games in each of his last three seasons and dominated the Big Ten conference. In 2019, Jackson finished second within the conference in interceptions (3) and passes defended (12). He also had 4.5 tackles for loss and 30 total tackles – both career-highs.
Overall, he had 22 defended passes during his collegiate career, ranking 23rd in the fifteen-year history of the conference.
What He Brings to the Team
“Jackson had four really strong years with the Cornhuskers. Last season, he was second within the Big Ten in interceptions (3) and passes defended (12). In 12 games, he allowed just 55.7 in passer rating when in coverage. Although he was initially projected to go in the sixth round, he was overlooked and Douglas exploited this to get his for next to nothing.”
“The early cornerback pick might be critical to the rotation. If depth at the position is ignored in the fifth round, they might as well as do that here.
Lamar Jackson’s efforts are starting to gain more and more momentum. Just wishful thinking might not be enough for him to stay in the sixth round, but there’s still hope. There’s no doubt that, for any team, that would be a pick that would have immediate dividends, no matter the depth of the unit.
You’ve perhaps heard of the dominance of Lamar Jackson, the Ravens wild-running quarterback and current NFL MVP. Well, now get ready to meet his defensive counterpart, out of Nebraska. Jackson is a late-round version of Damon Arnette, who might have an even higher ceiling. Like Arnette, Jackson is a force to be reckoned with in man coverage and the vertical passing game. Jackson recorded career-high 12 passes defended, second to only Indiana corner Tiawan Mullen in the Big Ten.
Furthermore, his reaction to the situation is always swift and adequate. He’s fast coming in the box to stop runs and also is a great open-field tackler. In each of his last three seasons, he had 25-plus total tackles, including 40 in his most recent campaign in 2019.
Jackson is not just a corner with a high ceiling against wideouts, but a promising overall contributor to the Jets defensive unit. Depth in the running and pass-protecting units may be more critical at the moment. However, if the Jets draft a corner in the early-to-middle rounds and then get Jackson, the stakes will be even higher for the secondary, especially if Jamal Adams remains on 1 Jets Drive.”
Strengths and weaknesses
Strengths – Man coverage, Flexibility, Range
Weakness – Zone coverage
How He Fits With the Jets
Despite his impressive resume, Jackson will likely enter the training camp fighting for a spot in the 53-man roster. However, the former Cornhuskers star could be an under-the-radar candidate to be a sensational part of a stacked secondary for the Jets in 2020.
According to our breakdown of the Jets secondary, Jackson is still in the “depth pieces” level of the hierarchy. If the Jets still struggle to find a dominant outside corner, guys like Jackson and Wilson could find themselves playing meaningful snaps. Such was the case with players such as Maulet last year. Jackson would have problems competing for a starting job at the nickel spot against Brian Poole and Bryce Hall.
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