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Adoree’ Jackson embraces role as Giants’ veteran leader

Jackson has been impressed by his teammates during OTAs

Syndication: The Record Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

There’s finally a little less pressure on Adoree’ Jackson.

Last year, the New York Giants’ roster had little to offer at cornerback besides Jackson. A rotating cast of players lined up next to him on the outside due to injuries, and when Jackson missed six games after spraining his knee on a punt return, the team was left scrambling.

This time, first-round pick Deonte Banks is expected to be the Giants’ No. 2 cornerback. That means Jackson, a six-year veteran, will need to help get Banks up to speed.

“I’m excited. I think about when I was in Tennessee, and I had Logan Ryan being able to help me and mentor me. And the following year, I had Malcolm Butler. I always think of it as a added benefit to us as a whole, not just the defense but the team as a whole,” Jackson said on Wednesday. “Watched him go through the walk-throughs, different things. Talked to him. He’s got a good head on his shoulder. Seems like a great guy. I was excited to get D(eonte) Banks.”

The Giants selected Banks No. 24 overall after he allowed a 71.9 passer rating during his senior year at Maryland. He’ll have to clean up his penalties and some other issues upon entering the NFL, but Jackson has already observed a mindset that should help the transition along.

“He’s a great guy. He’s been acceptable to the culture, what we’re trying to build here,” Jackson said. “And I can’t do anything but really appreciate him and welcoming him in the same as us; it takes a lot to gain so much trust and vice versa. He came up with open arms as we did. He’s been a good guy, giving us laughs, singing and stuff, which is pretty cool to see him not shy away or be shy at all and trying to be one of us, it’s dope to see.”

Like Banks, Jackson was selected in the middle of the first round, starting his career with the Tennessee Titans in 2017. He credits Tennessee’s defensive coordinator at the time, Dick LeBeau, for helping instill a patient mentality he will try and impart to Banks.

“If something doesn’t go my way or if a play doesn’t go this, that or a third, [LeBeau] always told me his experiences and what goes on, just give him tools to make him better,” Jackson said. “I think that’s the best thing a veteran cornerback can do, just let somebody learn from their mistakes and try to help them and be that voice of reason in their ear, how I would have wanted it vice versa. Just trying to be there as much as possible for him.”

Some other pieces of the Giants’ defense have departed. The team did not re-sign Fabian Moreau, who ended up starting 11 games at cornerback last year. And safety Julian Love signed with the Seattle Seahawks. Nick McCloud, who helped fill in when Jackson was injured, is currently taking reps at safety during OTAs.

“I think Nick is a man, a Swiss Army knife,” Jackson said. “A guy that is going to do whatever you ask him to do, he’s going to do it at a high level. One thing I can say I appreciate Nick never put his head down, never wavering, never being woe is me, just like, ‘Coach what do you need me to do’. Him being able to switch around it’s great because we can utilize him in different ways. I say I just appreciate Nick for him being unselfish.”

Of course, the biggest move of the Giants’ offseason was the trade for tight end Darren Waller. Jackson said the offense as a whole is moving with a speed even more impressive than last year, with Waller bringing a new element to the playstyle.

“It’s crazy. His catch radius being able to — but you can jump a route and D.J. can throw it somewhere else, and he can still be able to do get to it. The speed he has, it’s not like — it’s a different type of speed in a sense where he builds up his speed, just running strong. He’s trying to run through you, run around you, whatever.

“But I love it because you never know what you’re going to match up with. You can go against a 6-foot-5 receiver or smaller guy. You just get different looks. I think that’s what I appreciate most about this offense. You’ve got a lot of different type of body strengths; you got a lot of different attributes in front of these guys. And having everybody to help us be better as a defense.”