Cornerback Josh Jackson was a consensus First Team All-America honoree in 2017 after a dominant season at Iowa.
He made noise with eight interceptions to lead the nation, two of which he returned for touchdowns. His ability to take the ball away made Jackson a desirable prospect, and the Green Bay Packers selected him in the second round in 2017.
The Arizona Cardinals signed Jackson this week to a one-year deal, however, after the 26-year-old started only five games over the past three years. Jackson has yet to intercept a pass in the pros.
He has not found an NFL home yet, but NFL analyst Charles Davis of CBS Sports believes Jackson deserves another look in a new system.
“I liked him a bunch coming out to that ball hawk ability,” Davis told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta. “There can be some hit or miss with that. But great projections. When you show me ball skills and you show me takeaways, you’re gonna get a second and a third look from me because it’s so valuable in the game.”
#Iowa CB Josh Jackson officially declares for the NFL Draft. The first-year starter led the FBS in interceptions (8) and passes defended (26), including his three-pick night vs. OSU. pic.twitter.com/8KaCkLGndZ
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) January 3, 2018
Davis said Jackson played in a zone-heavy scheme at Iowa and utilized his size and ball skills to make plays.
A knock on Jackson by draft analysts is that he struggled to change directions, which Davis said has given the corner trouble against double moves and quicker receivers.
Jackson played only nine defensive snaps for the Kansas City Chiefs last season after having a sizable role with the Packers in 2020.
Davis still sees potential in Jackson’s physical ability, and the Cardinals need upside at the position.
“What you have is a good-sized corner, the whole deal. It is going to be interesting to see how they try to utilize him and see if he can get back to his ball hawking ways,” Davis said.
The Cardinals are leaning on Byron Murphy Jr. and Marco Wilson at corner. Antonio Hamilton, rookie Christian Matthew and Breon Borders represent the team’s depth along with Jackson.
The team needs help on the outside with Murphy more equipped in the slot, which is where Jackson would potentially fit in.