Scouting the NFL Draft: USC CB Adoree' Jackson

Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC
Ht. 5'10", Wt. 186, Arm: 31⅜", Hand: 9¼", Bench: -
40 yd: 4.42, 10 yd.: -, 3 Cone: -, Vertical: 36", Broad: 10'2"

I'm on record saying the Cowboys need to use the 28th overall pick on a pass rusher.

Let's say the pass rushers the Cowboys have a first round grades are gone at 28 and the choice is between a cornerback with a first round grade and a pass rusher with a second round grade. USC's Adoree' Jackson could be a player the Cowboys pull the trigger on.

Dallas already had him in for a private visit.

Jackson ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at the Combine. He must work on his technique, but Jimmy Johnson would call him a "difference maker" who can cover. In this league, that is a must.

Jackson was a team captain and a three year starter who saw time on offense, defense and special teams. He has 15 career touchdowns four different ways (6 receiving, 4 kick returns, 4 punt returns, one interception return).

He also won the Pac-12 outdoor long jump titles in 2015 and 2016 and placed 10th at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

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Michael Lombardi, former VP of player personnel with Cleveland, Oakland and New England, raved about Jackson.

"One of my favorite players in the draft, someone who impacts every game on all four downs. Jackson is flat-out incredible with the ball in his hands, even if he doesn't have enough size to match up against bigger, more physical receivers. Could his Olympic-caliber leaping ability and balance compensate for that? Sure. Think of him as a point guard corner - any quick slot receiver would struggle to out-quick Jackson. Day-one starter, playmaker extraordinaire."

Strengths (per former NFL Scout Chris Landry and Pro Football Focus)
• Special athleticism with see-yah speed
• Swivel hips with easy change of direction skills and leaping ability
• Smooth backpedal, controlling his body well to make coverage adjustments
• Excellent read/react quickness to attack throws in front of him
• Natural feel for timing to locate, highpoint and make athletic plays on the ball - always competing at the catch point (six career interceptions)
• Improved off-hand technique in coverage
• Explosive burst as a run defender and not shy about lowering his pads and throwing his body around
• Shows the mental toughness and quick memory to battle back from negative reps
• Dynamic return man with the speed, vision and burst to quickly recognize holes and eliminate pursuit angles
• Averaged 12.5 yards per punt return (46/578/4) and 27.1 yards per kickoff return (79/2,141/4)
• Also accounted for 39 receptions for 628 yards and six scores in his career
• When he gets the ball in his hands, big plays happen. Scored nine combined touchdowns on defense and special teams, and had six touchdowns on 39 receptions over the past three years
• Has the speed to keep up with receivers deep downfield. Ran a 4.42 at the combine but long speed is even better than 40-yard dash, with several plays where he ran down running backs downfield in 2016
• Good ball skills. Had six interceptions and 19 pass breakups over the past three seasons
• Solid against the run, with the 12th-highest grade against the run among cornerbacks in this draft class
• Consistent tackler. Missed just four of the 54 solo tackles he attempted in 2016
• Reacts well to wide receiver screens, giving up just eight yards on the three screens where he was in primary coverage

Weaknesses (per Landry and PFF)
• Undersized with below average height, length and build
• Struggles vs. physical receivers at the top of routes, losing body position
• Plays on his heels and late to burst out of his transition to attack the route
• Poor eye discipline and doesn't anticipate
• Underdeveloped route anticipation and spacing, allowing too much depth and giving too much cushion
• Relies on athleticism over fundamentals
• Messy footwork off the snap and doesn't have the upper body strength or length to challenge wideouts off the snap
• Too easily hung up on blocks
• Needs to fix bad habits as a ballcarrier, holding the ball loose and away from his body - four career fumbles
• Will body catch at times instead of attacking with his hands
• Struggles on shorter routes, hitches and slants in particular, against bigger receivers
• Gives up the middle of the field too easily. Allowed 80.0 percent of the passes thrown into his coverage on slant routes to be caught
• At 5-feet-10 and 186 pounds, he is a little bit undersized for an outside corner in the NFL

NFL Draft comparison: Adam Jones, Ladarius Webb

Verdict: First round

Jackson can help the Cowboys return game in a way Lucky Whitehead never did. He has the speed to matchup with the great wide receivers in the NFC.  This is a day one starter for the Cowboys and if they elect to wait on a pass rusher, Jackson is the guy I'd do it for.

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