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2020 NFL Draft Profile: Nebraska Cornerback Lamar Jackson

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Things for Jackson weren’t always so rosy

NFL Combine - Day 6 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Lamar Jackson arrived on campus at Nebraska from Elk Grove, California with a tremendous amount of fanfare. His first two seasons at Nebraska were not well received by Nebraska fans. Part of it was the play on the field and part of it might of been a result of being linked with Coach Mike Riley.

The arrival of Scott Frost and probably more importantly the arrival of Travis Fisher was extremely important for Jackson’s growth into an elite cornerback. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows though as Jackson was actually benched halfway into his junior season. Some players might have checked out and left but Jackson responded and will now likely be the highest drafted player for Nebraska since 2016.

In his senior season Lamar Jackson was a second team all-conference selection as he started all 12 games. He started all but one game during his junior year.

The reason he will likely be the first husker drafted is because of his frame. It is hard to find cornerbacks at 6’2” and 215 pounds.

From NFL.com’s Draft Profile:

Will appeal to particular schemes coveting size/length over all else, but inconsistent downfield ball skills and run support effort will be concerns. His long arms and big frame can annoy and disrupt pass-catchers when he’s in the vicinity, but he’s missing the speed to stay in phase with vertical routes and route specialists. Jackson doesn’t appear to have the demeanor for a transition to safety, but his physical traits warrant Day 3 consideration as a zone corner with press potential.

Strengths

  • Rare cornerback size with length to match
  • Posted five interceptions over last two years
  • Improved press technique expected on next level
  • Decent hips for a very big cornerback
  • Flashes some ability to trail and trace routes
  • Contested catches tilt in his favor
  • Gets to half-man and swings his paw into passing window to bat ball away
  • Length and leaping affect touch throws from short zone

Weaknesses

  • Instincts and overall awareness are a concern
  • Fails to recognize misdirection and alter his plans
  • Impatient reactions to press-release
  • Sticky feet hinder ability to stay connected to route breaks
  • Loses track of just moderate speed and starts to grab
  • Will lose valuable positioning playing the deep ball
  • Reads receiver rather than finding football for himself
  • Effort in run support can be very disappointing
  • Leaves feet behind and lunges rather than closing and wrapping to tackle

Jackson has an opportunity to jump up into the early rounds. Earlier last season there were a couple mock drafts which had him going in the first round. I do not expect that but maybe we should expect him to go in the 3-5 round range.

Honors and Awards from Huskers.com

  • Second-Team All-Big Ten (2019)
  • Nebraska Defensive MVP (2019)
  • Guy Chamberlin Trophy (2019)
  • Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll (Spring 2018)