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Giants 2021 roster profile: CB Adoree’ Jackson should change defense for the better

Jackson’s presence should allow Giants to play more man coverage

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NFL: Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans
Adoree’ Jackson with the Titans.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants made a good defense even better when they surprised many by signing former Tennessee Titans’ cornerback Adoree’ Jackson to a three-year, $39 million contract ($24.5 million guaranteed) this offseason.

Let’s take a closer look at what Jackson brings to the Giants as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp.

The basics

Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 185
Age: 26 in September
Position: Cornerback
Experience: 4
Contract: Year 1 of three-year, $39 million contract | Guaranteed: $24.5 million | 2021 cap hit: $6.176 million

Career to date

A 2017 first-round pick out of USC by the Tennessee Titans, Jackson was outstanding for Tennessee during his first three seasons.

Jackson had an injury-shortened 2020 season. He suffered a knee injury in the preseason and did not play until Week 15, appearing in just three games. In 2019, Jackson missed five games with a foot sprain. The Titans had picked up Jackson’s fifth-year option for 2021, but instead of keeping him for that fifth season chose to cut him.

Jackson lasted only a week on the open market before the Giants signed him.

2021 outlook

Jackson’s arrival should give the Giants something they searched in vain for all of last season — a solid man-to-man coverage cornerback to play opposite Pro Bowler James Bradberry.

The Giants played man coverage only 23 percent of the time in 2020, 26th in the NFL. That should change with Jackson opposite Bradberry.

“We are going to try to do what’s best for that game, that game plan. But you need to play man-to-man coverage in this league, period, point-blank and obviously six wins last year, we didn’t do enough on defense, so the hell with that; we are looking at all options, whether it’s the blitz more, blitz less, play less zone, play more man, we need a whole lot of options,” said defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. “Six wins is not going to cut it.”

Pro Football Focus recently ranked Bradberry No. 5 on its list of the NFL’s top 32 outside cornerbacks. Jackson was No. 12. Of Jackson, PFF wrote;

Tennessee’s loss has turned into the Giants’ gain. Jackson missed the majority of the 2020 season with a lingering knee injury, but he profiled as one of the most promising young cornerbacks in the league before last year, fresh off a career-high 82.5 coverage grade in 2019.

Jackson has been one of the stingiest cornerbacks in the league on deep targets since entering the league. Since 2017, he has forced more incompletions on passes 20-plus yards downfield (18) than he has receptions allowed (14).

Bradberry and Jackson are a good tandem not only because both are talented — but also because they have different body types and strengths.

Bradberry is a 6-foot-1, 212-pound cornerback at his best being physical and competing with big, strong wide receivers. Running with speedy receivers is not his forte. His timed 40-yard dash speed is listed at 4.5s by Mock Draftable, placing him below the 50th percentile.

Jackson, 5-11, 185, is the smaller and faster player. His 4.42 40-yard dash put him in the 80th percentile when he came out of USC.

“The addition of Adoree’ it helps the overall defensive scheme. In this league every team probably has a fast guy,” Bradberry said. “Having his speed that definitely gives you more upside and more versatility.”

After four seasons in Tennessee, Jackson is approaching his fresh start with the Giants “like I’m a rookie all over again.”

‘Just trying to come prove myself, just trying to get respect from my peers – obviously I played with some, some time had changed, things had changed and everything’s different when you go place to place,’ Jackson said. “So I’m just trying to prove myself and show these guys that I’m willing to learn and play for the team and do everything to the best of my ability.”

If Jackson plays as he did during his first three years in Tennessee he will be worth every penny the Giants spent to bring him on board.