Adoree Jackson is arguably the most polarizing prospect in this draft class. Some people are sold on his upside and athletic ability (me) while others are more skeptical on how his lack of technique will hurt his transition to the NFL (Mike). The one thing that almost everyone can agree on though is that Jackson is one of the most fun and electric players in all of football with the ball in his hands.
At USC, Jackson showed off that explosion on offense, defense, and special teams. As a cornerback, Jackson finished his career with 139 tackles, 28 passes defended, and 6 interceptions. He also had three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and one return touchdown as well. For his strong defensive play in 2016, Jackson was awarded the PAC-12 Defensive Player of the Year and the Thorpe Award for best defensive back in college football.
As a gadget player on offense, Jackson tallied a career total of 54 touches for 720 yards and 6 touchdowns. To go along with his stellar defensive stats and solid offensive production, Jackson was also one of the best return men in college football history. As a kick returner, he had 79 returns with an average of 27.1 yards per return and four touchdowns. As a punt returner, he tallied 46 returns for a 12.6 return average and four touchdowns.
Name: Adoree’ Jackson
Size: 5’10”/ 186 lbs/ 31 3/8” arm length
Combine: 40 Time: 4.42 seconds, Vertical: 36”, Broad Jump: 122”
In this report, we will being something different because he is such a polarizing player. This report will be a dueling report, with one side arguing why Adoree is a Top 50 player and the other side arguing why he isn’t.
Comparison: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Draft Grade: Mid 2nd Round
Positives: Great athlete with very smooth movement skills. Transitions very well from backpedal, opens his hips to run with receivers with ease. Possesses the quick feet and lateral ability to match receivers out of the slot. Solid in press man, hand usage is pretty good when he jams receivers. Excellent ball skills, attacks the ball in the air like a receiver. Decent tackler for a smaller player, not afraid to throw his body around. Has great potential as a gadget player. Can be used as a receiver, cornerback, and even as a free safety with his superior ball skills and playmaking ability. Elite return man, has an immediate impact there in the NFL.
Negatives: Technique as a corner is still very raw. Back pedal is way too stiff and upright, limits his ability to transition in and out of his breaks at times. Good in press man but needs more consistent hand usage, won’t be able to get away with allowing free releases in the NFL. Gets caught way too often going for the big play. Undisciplined in coverage which leads to him getting beat over the top on double moves and play fakes. Small size may lead to a role as a slot/ nickel corner only in the NFL. Fairly inexperienced as a corner, will need to learn the position more before he can really start.
Overview: Adoree Jackson is a very raw talent as a cornerback but can be used as an immediate gadget player at the next level. He has the speed and hands to be an effective receiver in certain situations and will be an elite return man from day one. As a cornerback, he does possess the ball skills and movement traits you look for but really needs to clean up his technique to be effective. I project him as a solid slot cornerback at the next level who will make his biggest impact as a playmaker on defense and as a return man/ gunner on special teams.
Comparison: Brandon Boykin (Eagles/Steelers)
Draft Grade: Early 3rd Round
Positives: Very quick feet and very fluid when flipping his hips. Has easy long speed with excellent acceleration. Excellent recovery speed when balanced. Sticky downfield and stays in the hip pocket, especially when using his hands early in the route. Soft hands and catches naturally outside of his frame. Baits quarterbacks effectively when initial play breaks down. Understands importance of maintaining leverage when stacking block vs. run and disengages with good timing. Not afraid of contact and is a secure tackler. Explosive return man on interceptions, kick-offs and punts; has a feel for the creases and burst to hit the home run. Dangerous in space when used on offense and is a very tough runner for his size. Competitor with high motor and desirable football character. Improved technique all three years despite limited reps.
Negatives: Impatient at the LOS; jab/stutter steps get him off balance and rocking back on heels. Needs to use hands more in press. When playing outside, fails to use sideline and squeeze/stack vertical routes. Gets bullied at LOS and knocked off the catch point due to limited size. Takes the cheese; gets caught peeking in the backfield and has been victimized by double moves. Tape plagued by various technique breakdowns. Needs to utilize leverage better in relation to the coverage help behind him. Frame not ideal to play outside or in certain schemes.
Outlook: Jackson should be drafted to play nickel, return kicks, and make the occasional splash play on offense. My issue with him starting at nickel right away is that he has struggled when his opponent has a two-way go and that won’t get any easier at the next level with more nuanced route runners taking of advantage of his relatively raw technique. Will stick around the league for his explosive playmaking ability but might not become a well rounded package until he signs with his second team.