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Adoree’ Jackson film review: Can Giants unlock all of his ability?

Jackson shows all the skills you want in a cornerback

Tennessee Titans v New York Giants Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

The New York Giants continue to splurge in the 2021 free agency period. The 2020 6-10 team added former Tennessee Titans’ 2017 first-round selection Adoree’ Jackson to a reported three-year, $39 million contract, with incentives that can max out at $44.5 million. Jackson was also guaranteed slightly more than $20 million. Jackson was released by the Titans earlier in the offseason and there were rumors that he didn’t see eye to eye with the organization.

There’s no doubt the contract is hefty for a player who has inconsistencies and some warts, but we should look at it relative to the other contracts that were given to 2021 free agents at the cornerback position. William Jackson III got a three-year, $40.5 million deal with $26 million guaranteed to join the Washington Football Team. Shaquil Griffin signed a three-year, $40 million deal with $24 million guaranteed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jackson III averages $13.5 million a season and Griffin averages $13.3 million a season.

Jackson is making slightly less than both of those players at $13 million a season, which is fair comparatively. Jackson III is probably a more consistent player at this juncture of his career; as for Griffin, that’s a lot of money, but cornerbacks are a primary position and this was the market value. Jackson will benefit from this teaching type of coaching staff with Joe Judge, Patrick Graham, and Jerome Henderson. He’s only 25 years old and has all the athletic ability in the world. Let’s get into some of his tape!

[Adoree’ Jackson is NO. 25]

2019 playoff win vs. Baltimore

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Jackson is more of a No. 2 cornerback who was operating as a No. 1 for the Tennessee Titans. When he’s on - he’s on. Jackson was one of the many reasons why the Titans upset the Baltimore Ravens in the Divisional Round of the playoffs; and that was after he performed very well against the Patriots, only allowing one catch on four targets.

Against the Ravens, Jackson batted away three balls and the one we see above is indicative of the type of upside he possesses. Jackson is in off coverage against Marquise Brown, who runs a deep comeback route off play-action. Jackson’s in a back-pedal, stays on top of the route, and then he commits his hips vertically up the stem. Once Jackson does that, Brown hits the comeback outside and Jackson is able to transition through his hip commitment, move laterally, and then explode downhill through Brown’s extended arms to knock the pass away. This is an athletic and instinctive play, with a good finish by Jackson

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Jackson has middle-of-the-field help, so he sets up with outside leverage. He back-pedals, gets his hips flipped, and then closes to the receiver's hips once the receiver angles his stem inward on the seam. Quarterback Lamar Jackson attempts to thread the needle, but Jackson quickly explodes through the catch point and gets both hands up to knock the pass away. Jackson is showing superior ability to stay in phase and use great timing to disrupt, which isn’t something that is fully consistent with his tape.

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Here it is again. In phase, blanketed on Miles Boykin (80) who attempts to shake Jackson just before the break, but can’t. Jackson establishes outside leverage, forcing Boykin inside at the line of scrimmage. Then Jackson easily gets to Boykin’s outside hip and rides it on the cross. Lamar Jackson tries to lead his receiver, but Adoree’ Jackson again uses excellent timing to get his upfield arm into the catch point and forces his third pass defensed in the game.

Good coverage

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Jackson is lined up outside the divider to the weak-side of the formation, so he aligns with inside leverage to force Calvin Ridley (18) outside. This is a great man coverage play where Jackson shows his excellent change of direction skills and fluid hips while also displaying very good eye discipline to react to Ridley’s quick break. Jackson then waits for the football to be released before attacking the ball with his inside arm while his outside arm subtly controls the receiver and acts as a secondary barrier, if he misses with his first attempt. This is good technique here by Jackson and he shows that incredible athletic ability in tight spaces.

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Speaking of athletic ability, Jackson is playing off against Curtis Samuel (10) in this clip above. Samuel explodes on the vertical and Jackson handles it well; the only reason Samuel ends up gaining a step is because Jackson’s eyes dart up to the football and he realizes that it’s underthrown, so he leaps up and almost makes an acrobatic one-handed interception. Jackson shows good tracking ability while also almost coming away with a great interception.

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Jackson gets to square up with DeAndre Hopkins (10) in another man coverage rep. Jackson rides Hopkins inside and I love how he handles the second vertical break; Hopkins sells the post route hoping for a sloppy transition with the safety since it’s a double move back into a vertical route. Jackson limits the space on the post and smoothly transitions with Hopkins on the vertical. He doesn’t lose his balance and he continues upfield in great position to force an incomplete pass, and another almost interception.

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Jackson only has two career interceptions, which isn’t exactly great for a player that isn’t avoided and has been starting since 2017. Both of the interceptions are above, the first against DeAndre Hopkins and the second against Josh Allen and the Bills. The video may cut out in the wide-angle, but we see impressive coverage and athletic traits with both interceptions. Jackson stays on top of Hopkins route, after losing a bit at the line of scrimmage - great recovery speed. He easily puts himself back into an advantageous position and then jumps in front of Hopkins to ensure the pick in a difficult position. Against the Bills, he shows very good change of direction skills and short-area quickness to play through the catch point with physicality and pop the ball in the air.

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Jackson needs to unlock some more of that recovery speed against Tyreek Hill (10) in the clip above. Hill hits his second speed and starts to accelerate and create good space against Jackson. Luckily for Jackson, he has excellent acceleration skills, too; the corner turns the jets on and the ball is slightly underthrown, so Jackson is able to dive and swat the ball away from the speedy Hill.

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Here’s some 2020 film from Jackson against the Packers. Jackson is in off coverage against the speedy Marquez Valdes-Scantling (83). The receiver runs a vertical post with a few subtle breaks and I’m just impressed by Jackson’s speed while moving laterally and his ability to stay on top of this route. It doesn’t seem like much, but his lower body is moving exceptionally fast in a half-turn while moving laterally. It’s just a testament to Jackson’s speed and movement skills.

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Jackson is in off coverage and notices Valdes-Scantling’s initial stem, so he quickly shuffles laterally and flips his hips to stay in phase and get to the receiver’s outside hip, effectively eliminating him from the play. This is good coverage and, yet again, another display of quality movement skills.

Not so good coverage

Jackson has a lot of upside, but he’s not a polished product. He’s surrendered 15 total touchdowns in his career and some of them are off poor technique or are just him being beaten.

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He gets out positioned for this football by an older Demaryius Thomas (87) in the clip above. Jackson is a little bit upright and a tad late to react to Thomas’ outside break on the 7 route. Due to this, Jackson is in a poor position to make a play on the football against a player who is far less the athlete, but has about 5 inches and 30 pounds on him. Jackson doesn’t do the best job with his positioning on the break and he attacks the outside part of Thomas which is a tough proposition, given the size and width of the receiver; if Jackson rode the outside hip with his outside arm, he could have possibly help prevent most of the throws with his inside arm, albeit would have been tough.

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This one doesn’t look good at all, but it’s not all his fault. Jackson is supposed to have middle-of-the-field safety help, but the play-action totally fools the safety. The concerning part is that Jackson should notice his safety dropping down at around the 40-yard line, but he still gets taken to task deep by T.Y. Hilton (13). The receiver accelerates away from Jackson, who actually does a decent job getting back into Hilton at around the catch point, but Jackson can’t locate and he lacks the awareness to know where the football is on this play. He doesn’t make the tackle and it goes for a long touchdown.

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Jackson gets beat by Hilton later in the game as well; he bites down hard on a slant route, reacting very well and in a decisive manner; this stops Hilton who then breaks his route outside and upfield in an extemporaneous manner. Jackson is a step behind and doesn’t have the play strength to drag Hilton out of bounds, which results in another touchdown.

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We’ve seen a few good reps of Jackson handling these deep horizontal crosses, but here’s one against a complete stud in Devante Adams (17). Jackson has to switch his assignment because of the pre-snap motion and it doesn’t appear that he’s in great position at the snap. If we look closely, it appears that Jackson is really threatened vertically and his body movements suggest that he’s preparing for a vertical, but Adams runs a deep crosser and Jackson can’t make up the ground. He gets close because the throw is slightly behind, but the uncertainty and indecision to not trust his eyes put himself into a less than ideal situation against top competition. Adams also beat Jackson for two touchdowns in this game, so he may have been in his head. The first touchdown was a quick screen and Jackson failed to complete the tackle and the second was literally a perfectly thrown pass over Adam’s shoulder - there wasn’t much Jackson could have done to stop that.

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Adams puts a move on Jackson at the line of scrimmage in the clip above and it gets him turned around. Luckily, Aaron Rodgers (12) wasn’t looking in that direction, but wrong moves and indecisiveness may suggest how Jackson was playing on his heels in this game vs. Adams.

Run support

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Jackson is willing in run support. According to Pro Football Focus, he has 207 total tackles in his career and 26 misses - many aren’t due to a lack of competitive toughness, but rather a lack of play strength; however, that’s not the case against Marlon Mack (25) above. He’s playing secondary force to the outside and Logan Ryan (26) does a great job taking out the lead blocker. This allows Jackson to come in strong and low on Mack. He flies in with tenacity and does a good job forcing Mack to fall out of bounds.

I really appreciate the aggressiveness that Jackson plays with as he comes downhill. He fights through a receiver’s blocking attempt and gets to trip up Leonard Fournette (27) through a hold.

There are a decent amount of plays like this in his tape; plays where he doesn’t bring the power but puts himself in position to either slow down running backs or bring them down, but allow them to fall forward. Jackson isn’t a big guy - he’s 5-foot-10, 186 pounds. Chris Ivory (33) rumbles over him in this clip, but Jackson ends up earning the tackle and keeping the continuity of the defense intact as the contain/force defender.

We see it here against big A.J. Dillon (28). Jackson flies into the screen and hits Dillon on the side; he doesn’t bring him down by himself, but he’s able to slow him down and allow for a rally tackle, which is a positive.

This play with Dillon didn’t go as well for Jackson. He gets tossed by Dillon’s inside arm to the ground, but he boxes the rookie running back inside towards his teammates which is keeping that continuity of the defense intact.

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Jackson does really well in pursuit in the clip above to tackle the ball carrier well behind the line of scrimmage. He sifts through the trash and tracks him down well making a sound tackle from behind.

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These aren’t technically run support, but being able to make sound open field tackles is a vital part of any defender's game. Jackson does this well throughout his tape. Again, doesn’t bring a lot of power to the tackle point, but his mechanics are solid and he does, at least, just enough to affect the ball carrier’s momentum on most occasions.

Final thoughts

The Giants found their starting second cornerback opposite James Bradberry. New York made it a priority and Logan Ryan flew up from Florida to help recruit his former teammate - the rest is now history. The addition of Jackson makes this defense and the special teams better. Jackson was a good return man who is dangerous with the football in his hands. He’s not always technically sound on defense and he has given up some big plays in his career, but he’s a great athlete with a ton of upside who has the movement and coverage skills to start and excel in this league. A bit more consistency down in and down out would obviously make him a better player, and I think he’ll receive the coaching to unlock that potential. All in all, the Giants have spent big in free agency and they’re primed to take another step towards winning this division for the first time since their last Super Bowl victory in 2011. Let’s hope these free agent moves, and the growth of the young players translate to wins on the gridiron.