In one off-season, the New York Giants went from having one of the worst secondaries in the NFL to one of the very best. A quintet of off-season additions (Janoris Jenkins, Leon Hall, Eli Apple, Darian Thompson, and Andrew Adams) helped solidify that unit and make it feared.
However, there might still be work to be done. Hall is an aging free agent who might not be re-signed and Darian Thompson is coming off a foot injury. That makes the depth at both slot corner and safety a question mark. Fortunately, a former teammate of the Giants’ own All-Pro safety Landon Collins’ could be the answer.
Eddie Jackson’s season ended prematurely, but the former corner turned safety is a talented free safety, slot corner, and return man.
Height - 6 feet, 0 inches (listed)
Weight - 194 (listed)
40 Time - 4.53 (projected)
- Easy mover. Has the hips to play man coverage and covers ground well in space
- Plays with his eyes in the backfield. Had six interceptions in 2015.
- True free safety. Is at home in the deep center field, keeps the game in front of him, but flows downhill well to defend underneath plays.
- Former cornerback (started four games at CB as a fresheman), he has the ability to play slot corner if needed.
- Has special teams upside. Returned 11 punts for 253 yards and 2 touchdowns before being injured in 2016
- Has an injury history. Tore his ACL in 2014 (returned to start 10 games that season) and had his senior season ended early by a fractured leg on October 22nd.
- Occasionally slow to react or takes poor angles to the ball.
- Not a physical tackler. Too often tries to arm tackle rather than lower his shoulder and deliver a form tackle. (This did seem to improve his senior year).
- Some teams might consider him a bit undersized or thin.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
At first look, the Giants would seem to be flush with talent at the safety position.
Landon Collins was simply one of the very best defenders in the NFL at any position in 2016. Darian Thompson looked like a potential steal before he was lost to a foot injury and Nat Berhe is an exciting strong safety. Thompson’s replacement and fellow rookie Andrew Adams proved to be a UDFA gem as the season wore on, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie even showed the ability to play safety when called upon.
However, at this point we need to recognize that Berhe, though he plays well, is an injury risk. Likewise, while Thompson was an iron man in college, the Giants’ history with third round picks is spotty at best.
If he happens to slip in the draft, Jackson could be a valuable addition to an already great secondary, and provide the Giants with waves of talented young players for any situation. He is also a former teammate of Landon Collins’, which could help shorten his learning curve.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 100th overall
Mocking The Draft - N/A
CBS Sports - 95th overall
Draft Countdown - 46th overall
Draft Tek - 104th overall
Eddie Jackson has become something of a forgotten player in the 2017 draft. After a strong 2015 campaign he looked like an ascending talent at safety, and could -- along with Marlon Humphrey -- put Alabama right in the conversation with LSU, Florida, Ohio State, and Washington for the best corner/safety tandem in college football.
However, a less-stellar season combined with his late-October injury put Jackson out of people’s minds. However, when he is healthy is still a talented defensive back who can be (at the very least) a value nickel defender and special teams contributor. It’s unlikely that the NFL has forgotten about him quite as much as those of us on the outside seem to have.