Why the Slide?: Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell
Four years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In that series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. Three years ago, we started the Why the Slide? series, and this year it is back. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can't promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.
For a lot of the leadup to the 2018 NFL Draft, Iowa's Josh Jackson was in the running to be the first cornerback selected. It was easy to understand why Jackson was held in such high esteem, as putting together tremendous ball production in 2017 with eight interceptions and 18 passes broken up to go along with 48 tackles. Some team sources said their team had Jackson graded in the first round and thought he had the potential to be an excellent starting cornerback in the NFL. However, Jackson surprisingly slipped in the 2018 NFL Draft and didn't come off the board until almost midway through the second round.
During our draft week rumors, WalterFootball.com reported that Jackson was a candidate to slide. We had heard that he could go as high as the mid-teens or slip to the second round. The biggest issue hurting Jackson around the NFL was concern about his speed. Some teams were worried about Jackson being fast enough to run with wideouts and prevent separation. That led to Jackson being the fourth cornerback selected behind smaller corners who did not share the same issue: Denzel Ward, Jaire Alexander and Mike Hughes.
The Green Bay Packers ended Jackson's slide with the 45th pick in the second round, and that was a good landing spot for him. Jackson and first-round pick Jaire Alexander should form a talented young trio with 2017 second-round pick Kevin King. The Packers need some cornerbacks to step up for them, because their corners have struggled over the past few years. Jackson has a great opportunity to quickly become a starter for Green Bay. From there, it will be up to him to prove those speed concerns were misguided and that he can be the caliber of corner that he was at Iowa. If he does, Jackson's second contract will more than make up for what he lost in the 2018 NFL Draft when he slid to the second round.
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