It's been over a week since we checked in on our rookie class, so we'll resume in style with LSU cornerback Chevis Jackson. After the jump, we'll look at the pros, cons and likely role for Chevis the Coverage Cornerback.
History: Second in LSU history with 44 passes defensed. Like me, Chevis collects football cards in his spare time. Played on both sides of the ball during a high school career in Alabama. You probably just skip past this past, don't you? I could pretty much type anything in here. Who would know?
Pros: Pretty top-notch coverage skills, particularly when he's not being asked to maintain man-to-man over the course of an entire game. Has terrific ball skills and is capable of breaking up a lot of passes with his long arms. Hits hard and wraps up well for a cornerback and could probably play safety in a pinch. No character concerns that I'm aware of, and has a reputation as a studious player who learns quickly. Is quick to pick up the run and will be a factor in many plays.
Cons: Jackson just isn't incredibly fast, which leaves him much better suited to cover your taller, slower receivers. He's likely to top out as a second corner, which isn't bad at all for a third round pick. Jackson has a reputation for not being incredibly agile, which together with his speed really does hurt him. May have to cheat a little in his coverage to keep up, and needs to keep a close eye on the ball to be truly effective.
Role: Because Jackson doesn't match up particularly well against burners, he could see time in the slot and lined up opposite Chris Houston. He'll be contending with David Irons and Von Hutchins for playing time and isn't incredibly likely to beat them both in his rookie year. His ball skills and tackling ability make him an intriguing sleeper in the secondary, and I'd be willing to bet that he spends a lot of time as a nickel back to start off the year before eventually getting some snaps as our second corner. I'd give his chances of making the team at 100%, obviously.
Final Thoughts: Jackson was a solid pick here considering the need for competition at cornerback. His impact may not be immediate, but I'd expect him to settle in as our #2 or #3 corner within the next couple of seasons.