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Adoree’ Jackson remains one of the most important parts of Giants defense

Jackson is entering a contract year

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NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants did not sign Adoree’ Jackson in 2021 to be their No. 1 cornerback. But after the team released James Braderry, Jackson stepped up to the challenge and elevated an otherwise middling secondary.

Jackson heads into 2023 firmly entrenched as the team’s leader at the cornerback position. Let’s take a look at his progress so far and learn more about what we can expect from Jackson this season.

By the numbers

Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 185
Age: 27
Position: Cornerback
Experience: 7
Contract: Year Three of three-year, $39 million deal; $13 million guaranteed | 2023 cap hit: $19 million

Career to date

The Tennessee Titans selected Jackson with the 18th overall pick of the 2017 draft. He immediately emerged as a starter opposite Logan Ryan.

Jackson had a fairly strong start to his career. He played every game his first two seasons, totaling 143 tackles and 27 pass deflections while allowing a 56.5% completion rate in 2018. But he struggled with injuries the next two years and missed almost all of 2020 with a knee injury.

The Titans cut Jackson ahead of the 2021 season rather than keep him on his fifth-year option. The Giants signed him as their No. 2 corner opposite James Bradberry. With Bradberry handling opposing team’s top receivers, Jackson set career bests in yards allowed per target (4.8) and quarterback rating allowed (69.0).

Jackson became the Giants’ top cornerback after they released James Bradberry in 2022. He started 10 games before injuring his knee on a punt return in Week 11. For those 10 games, he was arguably the most important player on New York’s defense. Despite not having an interception (he has only three in his career), Jackson was rarely out of position and helped make up for the team’s lack of depth at the position. The team was left scrambling to try and find a new starter once he was injured.

New York played a lot of man coverage under defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, and Jackson ended up playing the fourth-highest percentage of his snaps in man coverage out of all NFL cornerbacks. With the added challenge, his yards allowed per target increased to 6.6. But he allowed a career-best 51.7% completion percentage and gave up only two touchdowns. Pro Football Focus had him ranked as the league’s 17th-best cornerback.

Jackson was also instrumental in the Giants’ playoff win over the Minnesota Vikings. He lined up against All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson on 85% of his snaps, and Jefferson finished the game with just six catches for 37 yards. Jefferson had 133 yards against the Giants in the regular season when Jackson was injured.

Jackson enters the final year of his deal with a huge $19 million cap hit, third-most on the team behind Leonard Williams and Daniel Jones.

2023 outlook

Jackson should only get better in his third season in New York. And by drafting Deonte Banks in the first round, the Giants hope they have mitigated their over-reliance on Jackson. New York was left scrambling when Jackson was injured late last year, with no legitimate option to replace him.

Jackson will be a free agent after this year, and the development of the team’s other cornerbacks could determine his Giants future. We’ve already seen general manager Joe Schoen get rid of Bradberry to save cap space, and Jackson has yet to reach Bradberry’s level of play. If Banks plays like a No. 1 corner and Cor’Dale Flott emerges as a legitimate contributor, will paying Jackson big money be worth it? Or will the team be better off turning to players on rookie deals?