A familiar name fell to the Green Bay Packers at pick 45 and they wasted no time picking him up in a second-round steal. They also traded up to nab the outside linebacker out of Vanderbilt, Oren Burks.
The Green Bay Packers wasted no time with their second-round selection as they swooped up Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson.
Green Bay has now taken back-to-back corners in this year’s draft to help beef up the secondary. Jackson was also rumored to be a potential first-round pick for the Packers, although it didn’t happen as first thought, but he’s now a cheesehead.
For the Packers to get a player with as much value as Jackson in the middle of the second round, this pick is considered a steal.
He stands at 6-feet, 196 pounds and has great instincts and elite ball skills to go along with his solid size. Jackson anticipates passes at an NFL level and could step in as an impact player right away, such as his new teammate Jaire Alexander.
Jackson earned an All-American honor in one of his three seasons with the Hawkeyes. He had a national high of eight interceptions in 2017. He also returned two of those for a touchdown and defended 27 passes.
Impressively, Jackson only allowed a 41.3 percent completion rate and made a play on 25.7 percent of his targets. This has a lot to do with his awareness to play the ball and not the man. Traditionally, this is what the Packers look for in their cornerbacks.
Jackson has also made some impressive one-handed grabs while at Iowa.
That is some freakish athleticism.
Another hopeful sign for Packers fans is that Jackson showed up to play in big games in college. He finished with three interceptions in Iowa’s upset win over Ohio State and he nabbed two pick-sixes against Wisconsin. Not to mention that Jackson did not allow a single touchdown after week four in 2017.
Just as any other player, Jackson has concerns that come with him.
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The biggest one is he was a one-year wonder at Iowa. He had 14 career starts and all eight of his career interceptions came in 2017. However, he displayed his raw talent against power-five schools that makes him a convincing player. Experience will be one factor in how big of an impact Jackson is right off the bat.
One other concern his his ability to tackle in the open field and in man-coverage. Those were two of his biggest weaknesses in college and two that he needs to work on, pronto.
Experience and one-on-one tackling are two skeletons that follow Jackson to the Packers.
However, the rest of his game makes up for it. Regardless of the fact, his one solid season came last year, it was more than convincing. Eight interceptions and some displays of freakish athleticism and ball skills will make any scout drool.
Besides, the fact the Packers found a first round talent midway through the second round deserves some recognition. This was another great pick by Brian Gutekunst as he is revamping the secondary well thus far.
Burks was rated as Mel Kiper Jr. number five overall outside linebacker and for good reason.
He’s a freak athlete who played secondary and linebacker in his four college seasons. He tallied 228 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and five interceptions during his career at Vandy.
He stands at 6-foot-3, 233 pounds and ran a 4.59 40-yard dash at the combine. He’s very broad and has long arms and can fit the Packers defense as a 4-3 WILL or 3-4 ILB. He plays with toughness and quickness and strives to get to the ball on each play.
Scouts note how he is a leader on the field and progressed in each of his four seasons. The biggest factor Burks brings is his speed. Just the thought of his speed rushing off the edge is a beautiful thought. That is, as long as he can get a little stronger to help fight around bigger and stronger offensive linemen.
However, he is still new to the position. This may have some scouts concerned. What should help those worries is Burks’ high football IQ which should help him grow faster in the NFL.
He must also keep his pad level lower and tackle at a more consistent rate. Slipping off of ball carriers time after time won’t cut it in the NFL. Burks should also be able to improve his initial punch on the snap as his career progresses.
Another good pick by Brian Gutekunst. He traded up to add yet another solid talent to an area in which the Packers needed desperate help at.
Burks will be able to learn from Clay Matthews and the rest of the packers pass-rushers to learn the ropes. He has a lot of upside to his game however, he may not be an impact player right off the bat such as the Packers first two picks.
In fact, Burks may be able to pay off big time down the road. His quickness and toughness are there, as is his will to find and get to the ball. He just needs to be coached in some areas and gain more experience at the position before jumping on the bandwagon.
Overall Burks is a good pick with tremendous upside.