Lamar Jackson 2020 NFL Draft Profile

Lamar Jackson

Lamar Jackson Overview

Position: Cornerback
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 208 pounds
School: Nebraska Cornhuskers

NFL Combine Performance Data

40-yard dash: 4.58 seconds
Bench Press: 10 reps
Vertical Jump: 36.5 inches
Broad Jump: 122 inches

Lamar Jackson 2020 NFL Draft Profile

Not to be confused with the quarterback Lamar Jackson of the Baltimore Ravens, this Lamar Jackson did play a bit of quarterback for Franklin High School in Elk Grove, CA. However, it was how he played safety that caught scouts’ attention all across the country. He was the top-ranked safety of his class and was named to the all-state team by USA Today his senior year. Despite having offers from top PAC-12 schools like Arizona, Oregon and USC, Jackson chose to commit to the Cornhuskers.

Nebraska moved Jackson to cornerback once he got to school and his freshman year he saw limited action in mop-up duty as he learned the system. Jackson had the chance to start in the final game of the year versus Tennessee in the Music City Bowl and led his team with eight tackles. As a sophomore, Jackson started every single game in 2017 and proved to be one of the more durable members of the Nebraska secondary. He finished the year with 38 tackles and three pass breakups.

Jackson became more of a premier corner his junior seasons as teams started to throw away from his side of the field. He finished with 28 tackles, seven pass breakups, two interceptions and one forced fumble. Senior year, Jackson took his game to another level and recorded 40 tackles, 12 pass breakups, four tackles for loss, three interceptions and one sack. He was named to second-team All-Big Ten and was named Nebraska’s Defensive MVP at the end of the year. His 22 career pass breakups rank 10th best all-time in Cornhusker history.

Strengths

  • unreal size and length for the cornerback position, like he was created in a video game;
  • solid footwork at the line of scrimmage when pressing;
  • long arms allow him to disrupt any receiver going for the ball;
  • very good eye discipline when sitting in zone coverage;
  • high points and attacks the ball regularly when thrown at;
  • not overly physical with his hands but does a good job of re-directing receivers when he gets on them early;
  • rarely misses a tackle when it’s his receiver catching the ball;
  • teams rarely threw to his side junior and senior year when he lined up in press;
  • good enough acceleration and speed to play man coverage against most receivers.

Weaknesses

  • long speed is average, will get toasted by speed burner type receivers;
  • slow out of his break in off coverage;
  • struggles to get his head around consistently on throws down the field;
  • does get caught flat-footed a few times when playing up at the line of scrimmage;
  • very poor effort when shedding blocks;
  • atrocious effort when tasked with helping out in the run game;
  • frequently dives at ball carriers ankles on tackle attempts;
  • susceptible to getting beat on double-move routes.

NFL Comparison: Xavier Rhodes

Teams with a Need at the Position: Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions. Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants

Projection: Fourth to Sixth Round

Bottom Line on Lamar Jackson

If you’re an NFL team that wants to play an aggressive zone defense and be physical at the line of scrimmage, look no further than Jackson. Defensive coordinators will be drooling at Jackson’s size and physique as he is similar in build to the likes of Brandon Browner, just not as tall. He’s very talented when playing up at the line of scrimmage displaying great patience, solid footwork, and a solid football IQ. While his long speed isn’t great, his trail technique and length is capable of bailing him out more times than not against the speedier receivers. Jackson isn’t very grabby either which helps him avoid pass interference calls.

However, don’t ask him to play off-coverage. It’s quite frustrating watching his film because Nebraska’s coaching staff doesn’t do the best of jobs scheming to his strengths. He was asked to play off the ball more than he should have and you can see his unfamiliarity with it. Jackson will tend to give big cushions and doesn’t break on the ball awfully quick either making 5-10 yard routes way too easy. His effort in the run game is really bad too but that is more of an effort thing versus an ability issue.

Nonetheless, Jackson has the potential to be a high-quality starter in the NFL by year two or three. Again, it’s all going to come down to which defensive scheme he plays and if he cleans up some technique. Jackson is a poor man’s Jaylon Johnson in this year’s draft. He may never make a Pro Bowl or an All-Pro team,  but he is going to make a defensive coordinator very happy.

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