Summary: There has been a debate between Florida and LSU as to which university is the true "DB U," and the Tigers have the edge in 2018 with Jackson. He has a special skill set and will likely be the first defensive back to be selected from either defensive back powerhouse in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Jackson was able to work his way onto the field at LSU because of the world-class speed that made him a track-and-field star translated to the football field. As a freshman, he had 26 tackles with two passes broken up. Jackson made 39 tackles with eight passes broken up and two interceptions in 2016. With Tre'Davious White in the NFL, Kevin Toliver II was the more-hyped LSU cornerback entering the 2017 season, but Jackson was the Tigers' best cornerback. On the year, the junior totaled 49 tackles with 10 passes broken up and an interception.
Instantly in the NFL, Jackson is going to be among the fastest players on any team. He might be the fastest cornerback in the league in 2018. Jackson ran the 100-meter dash - longer than 100 yards - in 10.22 seconds, which is a tremendous time. He uses his great speed and agility to routinely blanket receivers. Jackson is very capable to run the route to prevent separation and uses his instant acceleration to stay with the wideouts out of breaks. His burst and explosion give him excellent recoverability skills. Many teams in the NFL can struggle with super-fast wide receivers downfield and have to give cornerbacks help over the top. Jackson's NFL team won't have to worry about that, because he is able to run with the deep-speed receivers and keep them from getting open.
The most concerning negatives about Jackson are his size. He is a short and light for cornerback, so he should not be matched up with big receivers who could make catches over him. A lot of the time Jackson will be relegated to being a nickelback, but he will also line up on the outside when taking on a speed receiver. Jackson knows he is fast, and that can make him overly aggressive at times. He is a gambler who needs to become more disciplined for the NFL.
In the 2018 NFL Draft, Jackson could be a late first-round or second-round pick.
Player Comparison: Janoris Jenkins. Team sources have compared Jackson to Jenkins, and it makes a lot of sense. Jenkins (5-10, 190) is a smaller corner, but he is very fast and is superb at running the route to prevent separation. Jackson is similar with how fast and athletic he is. Jenkins fell to the second round because of off-the-field concerns stemming from his time as a Florida Gator. Jackson could be a late first-round or early second-round pick.
NFL Matches: Oakland, San Francisco, Green Bay, Los Angeles Chargers, Seattle, Dallas, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Atlanta, New Orleans, Minnesota, New England, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Tampa Bay
There are a lot of teams that could be a fit for Jackson in the 2018 NFL Draft. In the first round, the Raiders and 49ers both could use more cornerback help. Going as a top-10 pick could be too high for Jackson, but if either team trades down, that organization could consider Jackson.
Green Bay has used a lot of picks on cornerbacks, but it remains a position to potentially address for the Packers. Jackson could get consideration as a cover corner. In Los Angeles, the Chargers could use a cornerback to go with Casey Hayward. Jason Verrett is nearing the end of his contract and has had durability issues.
Seattle cut Richard Sherman and will need more corner talent for its defense. Jackson may not have the size to fit the Seahawks' system though. Dallas could use more cornerback talent, and Jackson could finish off a young trio for the Cowboys.
In the 20s, there are a lot of options for Jackson. Buffalo could consider Jackson with its second first-round pick because the team has to find a replacement for Ronald Darby. The Vikings have to consider a replacement for Terrance Newman, while the Bengals could use a replacement for Adam Jones. Jackson could interest both Minnesota and Cincinnati. Atlanta could use a cornerback to replace Jalen Collins. The Saints have bigger needs, but they also might consider a corner if he is the best player available. He would give them a potential partner to go with Marshon Lattimore.
The Patriots could consider taking Jackson with one their first-round picks or their high second-round pick. Malcolm Butler left in free agency, while Stephon Gilmore was a big disappointing in his first year in Foxborough. Jackson' cover skills could make him a fit for New England. Philadelphia may not sign Darby to a long-term extension, and Jackson could be selected as a future replacement.
If Jackson were to slip to the second round, there are a lot of potential fits. The Browns have to upgrade their cornerback talent, and Jackson would make a lot of sense for one of their second-round picks if he gets there. Tampa Bay could use more young cornerback talent to go with Vernon Hargreaves, and Jackson would make sense for the Bucs in the second round. The Colts need a young corner to go with Quincy Wilson and replace Vontae Davis.