Coming out of high school Lamar Jackson was the number one safety in the nation over the likes of Taylor Rapp and Joejuan Williams who were drafted in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft and both Isaiah Simmons and Brandon Jones who are highly touted 2020 NFL Draft Prospects.
Jackson saw playing time as a true freshman as the Huskers third corner before starting as a sophomore. However Jackson struggled in his transition to cornerback and ended up getting benched at different stretches of time. However with a new coaching staff things clicked with Jackson as a junior as he enjoyed his best season of his career intercepting his first two passes and 7 passes defended. As Jackson enters his senior year we take a look at his traits and what his NFL Draft outlook could be.
What Jackson Does Well
At 6’3 and 215lbs Lamar Jackson is a big corner who has the length to give receivers fits. Even if he is a step behind or not in the best spot he does shoe the ability to get a hand in to disrupt the pass. Jackson also has good speed showing the ability to run step for step with receivers down the field while also showing burst to react to the receivers movements and help recover if he gets beat. While I wouldn’t say that Jackson has fluid hips but he does show the ability to change direction and flow in zone coverage reacting to the receivers that come into his zone. Jackson has also shown good ball skills and is the gave up the third lowest passer completion percentage of any returning Big 10 defensive back.
Concerns about Jackson
While Jackson has a lot of good physical traits, he is still a work in progress at times as a corner. Out of press Jackson can get a caught leaning on his punch and then is off balance as the receiver goes the other way causing him to have to catch up. Jackson also can be a bit impatient turning too soon also putting himself out of position initially. But the biggest concern about Jackson is his physicality. For someone who is a 6’3 215lb cornerback he doesn’t play with much physicality struggling to reroute receivers and getting controlled too easily on blocks.
Lamar Jackson NFL Draft Outlook
Lamar Jackson’s senior year will be huge for his NFL Draft stock as he showed a lot of promise in 2018 but needs to put it all together. Jackson has the size and speed that teams want out of press man corners and with so many teams still running that Seattle style Cover 3 looks he could be a good fit on teams like Seattle, San Francisco and Atlanta among others. However he need to do better with his jam and clean up some of his technique. If he can do this there is a chance he could work himself into the second of the NFL Draft, but at this point he looks like a Day 3 pick as a backup.