[Remember to check the '2010 NFL Draft' section for all stories relating to the draft.]
The passing game is the rage in the NFL these days. Defensively, that means players who can cover the multitude of wide receivers offense have on the field are at a premium.
We know our New York Giants are aiming to improve at the safety position, where they were atrocious in 2009. Do not, however, underestimate the importance of stockpiling quality cornerbacks.
That, of course, brings me to the subject of today's Daily NFL Draft Prospect Profile. That would be Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson, a 5-foot-11, 192-pound junior who should be a first-day selection in the April draft.
Let's take a closer look.
Kareem Jackson Scouting Reports
From the National Football Post.
Showcases good closing speed in coverage once he gets his feet under him and consistently is able to make plays on the ball. He possesses impressive awareness in both man/zone coverage and has the ability to quickly get his head around and find the ball.
He's a coordinated athlete who possesses the body control to quickly adjust to throws. Jackson isn't consistently technically sound but finds a way to break on the pass. He displays a willingness to help out in the run game, reads his run/pass keys quickly and takes good angles in pursuit. He isn't overly physical on contact but is a solid wrap-up guy who can tackle in space. Overall, Jackson is a raw corner and needs to improve his footwork. But he's a coordinated athlete who does a nice job locating/adjusting to the ball and has the closing speed in space to make plays in man/zone coverage. He needs some time but is a guy who should be able to start for an NFL team.
From SB Nation's Mocking The Draft.
Although Jackson was used in man coverage a lot, he may be better as a zone cornerback. Jackson's anticipation skills are very good and he reads the opposing quarterback really well. Locates the ball quickly once it's in the air. Uses his physicality nicely in zone to move the receiver to make a play on the ball.
Jackson benefited greatly from playing in Nick Saban's NFL-style defense. He played a lot of man on his side, but has the skill to handle zone.
Jackson's size isn't all that great, but he is a physical cornerback. That helps him make up for a lack of agility and speed.
From Draft Breakdown.
Outstanding man coverage skills. Does a very nice job anticipating routes, showing good instincts for a cover corner. Better in man coverage than zone, but can play both. Comfortable on film playing press and off-man coverage. Fluid hips. Stays low in back pedal and doesn’t lose speed when turning and running. Good body control and balance. Quick feet. Closes on the ball carrier well and not afraid of contact. Very good ball skills and displays good hands when given the opportunity. Physical with the receiver in press coverage and isn’t afraid to fight for the ball and/or position.
Jackson might be the best corner no one is talking about in this year’s draft. Very solid from top to bottom. Man coverage skills are among the best in this class. Smart player that was a part of a difficult defense to learn. Should be able to start for an NFL team from day one. Isn’t getting the attention he deserves because teams just didn’t throw his way as often during his sophomore and junior seasons. Could have potentially been the top ranked CB if he stayed for his senior season.
Why Jackson fits with the Giants
I have said this before, but in this era of the NFL you can never have enough quality cornerbacks. Never. The Giants definitely have two, with Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster. They might have three if Aaron Ross can stay on the field. And Bruce Johnson isn't chopped liver, but he is still an under-sized undrafted free agent. So, adding depth and competition at this spot is not a bad idea. And Jackson has experience playing press coverage, and reportedly the recognition skills to play zone.
Why the Giants should pass
Most likely because Jackson would require a fairly early pick, and the Giants do have bigger holes to fill than third or fourth corner. Still, I won't complain if the Giants try to add some depth here, whether Jackson or someone else is the choice.