Field Yates of ESPN proposes a trade that sends Green Bay Packers Josh Jackson to the Denver Broncos for Isaac Yiadom. But does it make much sense for the Packers?
One name in particular who is in need of a big summer for the Green Bay Packers is third-year cornerback, Josh Jackson. As a former second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Jackson’s first two seasons have not gone very well at all.
As a rookie, Jackson would make 10 starts and he took his lumps, to say the least. But in fairness to him, that should have been expected to some extent. Overall Jackson would allow a completion percentage of 66.7 percent according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required) and opposing quarterbacks had a passer rating of 112.7 when targeting him.
On top of that, he led the team in penalties and didn’t come away with a single interception. Which was his calling card during his final season at Iowa.
Unfortunately for Jackson and the Green Bay Packers, 2019 wasn’t any better. In fact, it was worse. An injury early on in training camp would derail his entire season as he fell down the depth chart. Jackson ended up playing less than 10 percent of all defensive snaps in 2019 and when he was on the field he struggled once again.
With below-average speed and a game better suited for zone coverage, it’s difficult to see how and where Jackson is going to fit into this defense moving forward. And that is why Field Yates of ESPN proposed that the Packers trade Jackson to give him a fresh start elsewhere.
But given the slow start to Jackson’s career, who could Green Bay land in return? Well, it’s another cornerback who has had similar issues during his short career with the Denver Broncos. Enter Isaac Yiadom.
Here is a quick look at what Yates had this to say about the trade and why it makes sense for both sides:
”As this trade would represent a swap of cornerbacks taken just one round apart during the 2018 NFL draft. Each has struggled with his original team and does not appear to be a roster lock at this time for the 2020 season.”
Yiadom was taken in the third round of the 2018 draft out of Boston College. Over his two years, he has appeared in 29 games, including 13 starts, eight of which came in 2019. However, despite seeing much more consistent playing time than Jackson, Yiadom has only logged seven pass breakups, which is three less than Jackson along with only one interception.
Not to mention that on 54 targets last season, Yiadom allowed a completion percentage of over 70 percent – the most out of any player in the Denver secondary – and to put it simply, he was picked on by opposing quarterbacks. Although to his credit he didn’t allow a touchdown last season.
So based on their on the field performances, there’s no way to sugar coat it as both players have certainly struggled. But when it comes to this trade happening, I can’t say that I’m on board with it.
For one, while Jackson isn’t the fastest corner by any means, according to the Relative Athletic Scoring Table, he is the far superior athlete. On the 0 to 10 scale, Jackson scored a 9.27 which is still elite, despite his below-average 40 time. Yiadom, however, scored a 6.14.
While neither player has lived up to their draft hype as top-100 selections, the difference in overall athleticism gives Jackson the higher ceiling if he is able to figure things out. That alone is enough for me to stick with him over trading for Yiadom.
It’s also worth noting that Jackson knows the Mike Pettine defense and there is certainly value in that. Yiadom on the other hand, while still trying to hone his cornerback skills would be tasked with learning an entirely new defensive system as well in what has been a very unusual offseason. So to expect any sort of meaningful impact from him would be naive.
Yes, it is Year 3 for Josh Jackson and it’s really now or never for him if he is going to step up. However, trading him for Isaac Yiadom isn’t the answer. At this point, I’d rather take my chances with Jackson who is the better athlete, flashed some serious ball-skills at Iowa, and who knows the Green Bay Packers’ defensive system.