It’s no secret that the Green Bay Packers had a lot of issues on the defensive side of the ball last season. One of the primary areas of concern was the secondary, which had a case to be made as one of the worst in the NFL last season. The Packers gave up 237 passing yards a game last season, which ranked 23rd overall in the league. They had a considerable lack of playmakers in the secondary, which led to just 11 interceptions on the year. Clearly, the Packers are in dire need of an upgrade for 2018. One of the best ways to help improve the secondary would be to draft cornerback Josh Jackson out of Iowa with the 14th overall pick.
Why The Green Bay Packers Should Draft Josh Jackson
Jackson is one of the most highly-touted defensive back prospects in this year’s NFL Draft. He came into the 2017 season relatively unknown but blossomed into perhaps the best ball-hawking corner in all of college football. Last season with the Hawkeyes, he recorded eight interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, and 18 passes defensed. His on-ball skills are incredible, and he has a tendency to play the ball and not the man, which is a good attribute for a playmaker to have.
What the Packers need, and have lacked for the better part of the past few years, is a playmaker. Someone who can make plays on the defensive side of the ball that can turn the tide of a game, or push it further in Green Bay’s favor. It seems that the Packers haven’t had a player like that since the days of Charles Woodson and Nick Collins. In Jackson, the Packers could have someone with that same kind of on-field impact. With the addition of veteran presence Tramon Williams and talented second-year pro Kevin King returning, this Packers secondary would have the makings of a scrappy unit that can improve immensely over last season if they take a chance on Jackson at pick number 14.
New Defensive Coordinator Can Help Polish Jackson’s Game
After last season’s dismal year, it was out with the old and in with the new in the way of a new defensive coordinator in Mike Pettine. Pettine was the defensive coordinator for the New York Jets from 2009-12, and his defenses were among the best in the league during that time. Pettine’s defenses held opposing quarterbacks to a 71.0 passer rating, 186 passing yards/game, and a 52.6 completion percentage, all of which were NFL-low marks.
Some may worry that Pettine’s press-man coverage scheme would cause problems for Jackson as Iowa runs a lot of zone coverage, but Jackson has already shown himself to have impressive ball-skills and with a little bit of coaching, he could become an excellent fit in Pettine’s defense. Pettine, as a former defensive back himself at Virginia, would probably love the opportunity to work with Jackson as well as the rest of the young group of defensive backs that Green Bay has to offer.
Former Hawkeye Mike Daniels Already Calling For Green Bay To Draft Jackson
Mike Daniels, one of Green Bay’s defensive anchors in the past few years, has been very vocal with his praise of Jackson. On NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football,” Daniels praised Jackson and called him “the next great defensive back.” That’s certainly high praise from a Pro Bowler and Green Bay’s unofficial leader on defense. With the right amount of coaching and support from the team, Jackson has the potential to develop into just what Daniels thinks he can, and it’s worth it for Green Bay to use their first-round pick on him. If the Packers elect to go a different route, they could be letting a future Pro Bowler slip right through their hands.
- 40-yard Dash: 4.56 seconds
- Bench Press: 18 reps
- Broad Jump: 123″
- Vertical Jump: 38″
- 3 Cone Drill: 6.86 seconds
- 20-yard shuttle: 4.03 seconds
Awards/Achievements at Iowa
- Unanimous All-American (2017)
- First-team All-Big Ten (2017)
- Jack Tatum Award (2017)
- Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back Of The Year (Big Ten 2017)
- Led the nation in interceptions (8, 2017)