The Green Bay Packers pulled back the curtain on their new defensive personnel in training camp over the past month, and in doing so one player earned more time in the spotlight than any other. That is cornerback and second-round draft pick Josh Jackson, who picked up in Green Bay right where he left off in Iowa City last fall: making life hell for opposing quarterbacks.
Jackson intercepted two passes in the preseason, taking them both back for touchdowns. Yes, one was erased by a penalty, but we’ll overlook that in favor of Jackson’s exceptional play. Not only that, but he allowed a perfect 0.0 passer rating into his coverage, according to Pro Football Focus, with just two receptions for 14 yards on nine targets.
Those numbers were not only good enough to earn Jackson a nod on PFF’s All-Preseason Rookie team, they got him on the All-Preseason team regardless of experience level. And here’s what might be the craziest part: Jackson isn’t even projected to be one of the team’s starters in week one.
Adding to the attention Jackson is receiving from national media was a shout-out from NFL writer Peter King, who predicted this week that Jackson will end up being the league’s defensive rookie of the year: “I don’t think he’ll start on fire, but as the season wears on, he’s going to be the most reliable cornerback on a strong playoff contender. He never was the fastest cornerback at Iowa, but he was smart and instinctive, and he’ll be among the league leaders in interceptions.”
As of about three weeks ago, Jackson had the 12th-best odds of winning DROY, according to one online sportsbook that had him at 20:1. Following a trio of impressive performances to close out the preseason, those odds might just be dropping.
As an added bonus, the Packers got a second player on PFF’s rookie All-Preseason team. Safety Raven Greene earned a spot on the 53-man roster with a very good performance in the exhibition games, and he landed the last spot on PFF’s squad as their “defensive flex” player.
From PFF: “The 5-foot-11, 197-pound James Madison product recorded 13 tackles, seven defensive stops and one forced fumble this preseason. He also allowed just three receptions on five targets for 18 yards.”