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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings draft prospect microscope: Iowa CB Josh Jackson

By Matthew Coller

As we lead up to the NFL Draft here at 1500ESPN, we will take a closer look at the prospects who could end up as Minnesota Vikings. For this edition, we focus on Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson…

Why the Vikings could draft Josh Jackson:

Because of his lack of experience, experts are split on where Jackson will land in the draft, but one thing is clear: He was spectacular last year with the Hawkeyes. Jackson has the length that the Vikings like in their cornerbacks and the playmaking skills to be a game-changer. He might not project as the nickel corner the Vikings need at the moment, but he could give Mike Zimmer another skilled playmaker in the secondary and potentially a long-term replacement for Trae Waynes, who hits free agency in two years (if the Vikings pick up his fifth-year option).

What experts are saying:

NFL.com draft profile:

“Long-armed ball-hawk who understands how to maximize his length to disrupt the catch and take it away. Jackson could be labeled a “one-year wonder”, but 27 passes defensed in a single season isn’t random. He’s talented but inexperienced and he has coverage holes that could be exploited early in his career. Jackson’s draft stock likely took a hit with his average forty time and unimpressive work in position drills. However, he is armed with route anticipation, ball skills, and NFL length that teams covet in a press-man corner. It may take time, but the tools are there to be an early starter.”

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah:

“Jackson has good size for the position and I love his versatility to play inside and outside. He was deployed in a variety of coverages in Iowa’s scheme and was effective in all of them. In press coverage, he isn’t physical, but he’s very fluid to open up and mirror. I have some concerns about his deep speed, but he wasn’t really challenged in the games I studied. He is at his best in zone coverage, where he sees through the wideout to the quarterback. He’s quick to identify routes, break on the ball and finish. He has rare ball skills, which creates some spectacular picks. He’s an effective wrap/drag tackler in the run game. Overall, Jackson might lack ideal twitch and deep speed, but his combination of size and ball skills is outstanding. He is a plug-and-play starter.”

Pro Football Focus:

“Josh Jackson’s grade in 2017 was off the charts, leading all corners not just this season, but it’s the highest grade we’ve seen from any corner in this draft class in any year of their college careers. Jackson was a wide receiver in high school and only moved to corner in 2015, playing just 297 snaps over the rst two seasons of his career as depth on the Iowa bench. In 2017 he started and had a huge season, picking off eight passes and breaking up another 18. Sample size is an issue, but the potential is huge”

What the numbers say:

Throwing at Jackson was a bad idea in 2017. Opposing QBs went 40-for-91 with four touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 36.5 rating when targeting him. He also had 18 passes defended and was given Pro Football Focus’s highest grade of any corner.

Here are his PFF grades in every area:

Jackson did not run an impressive 40-yard dash, but he checked off every other box with his quickness and leaping ability.

Bottom line:

If the Vikings choose to take the best player available at No. 30, Jackson may be that guy. While they have improved on the offensive side, Mike Zimmer’s bread and butter will always be on the defensive side. With a lack of depth on the 2018 version and an unclear future for Mackensie Alexander and Trae Waynes, the Vikings could consider the draft’s best playmaking DB.

Watch Josh Jackson:

The post Vikings draft prospect microscope: Iowa CB Josh Jackson appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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