It remains to be seen whether the Green Bay Packers have resolved their cornerback problem, but new general manager Brian Gutekunst certainly attacked the weakness in the 2018 NFL Draft. After taking Louisville’s Jaire Alexander with his top pick, Gutekunst doubled down with lengthy, playmaking cover man Josh Jackson from Iowa.
No cornerback in the draft class possesses better ball skills than Jackson. The Iowa product uses his tremendous length and athleticism to disrupt passes out of reach for most defensive backs, turning a great many of them into turnovers. Jackson picked off eight passes during his final collegiate season, returning two for scores. For his efforts, he earned consensus All-American honors.
Of course, the Packers’ first-round pick Jaire Alexander also offers top-shelf ball skills, something Gutekunst and the new front office clearly value. The selection of back-to-back corners also protects the team in case of injuries or slow development from one of the prospects.
Though Jackson’s long speed has garnered criticism, he lacks little else for a cornerback. At 6-foot, 196 pounds, he can play physically with receivers, rerouting them with his long arms and keep them pinned to the sideline when necessary. Jackson’s 40-inch vertical and 6.86-second 3-cone further highlight his athleticism.
With last year’s top pick Kevin King already in tow, the Packers now have twin towers patrolling the boundaries. That should allow 2018 first-rounder Jaire Alexander to spend more time in the slot. Doing so will cloak his size concerns and allow his own playmaking skills to take center stage. If these draft choices pan out, the Packers shouldn’t have cornerback concerns for the foreseeable future.
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