Look, Josh Jackson has easily been one of the most common punching bags for the Green Bay Packers’ fanbase – and for good reason. But his 2020 season, so far at least, has certainly opened some eyes and proven that maybe he just took a bit longer than most to finally get to his ceiling as a professional.
Jackson was taken in the second round out of Iowa, the same draft that the team also took Jaire Alexander with the 18th overall selection. Obviously, the team was desperate for competent cornerback play, and the 2018 NFL Draft certainly fit the bit for them to want to upgrade, hence the two early selections of DBs.
Alexander certainly has lived up to his billing and then some, becoming one of the premier shutdown corner options in the league, while Jackson has struggled to even be featured in dime packages for defensive coordinator Mike Pettine at times. But, with starting corner Kevin King currently out with an injury, Jackson has been forced to step up in his absence, and he has delivered.
Just last week in the game against the Houston Texans, Jackson followed Brandin Cooks around for the good chunk of the game, as Alexander followed Will Fuller IV. Not only did he hold Cooks to a one-catch game (when he was covering him, which was 80 percent of his snaps), he also forced a drop, and Cooks only received two targets with Jackson covering him.
Having played 100 percent of the snaps on defense (68), Jackson’s health seems to be trending in the same direction as that of his on-field performance, something that needs to happen in order to keep this defense functioning. While this defensive unit has certainly taken its lumps over the past few seasons due to their gashings that they have received, their defensive backfield (specifically their cornerbacks) may have finally, as a collective group, finally turned the corner, a great development moving forward.
Will Jackson’s role be expanded once King returns from injury? It certainly could be, yet he may also have a ton of confidence in his game because he finally felt comfortable in the role that he was playing before King went down, something that he could easily slot back into once the time comes.
Regardless of the upcoming situation, the fact that Jackson, even if for just a few games, was able to look like more than just a competent, fill-in CB, is an awesome development and one that would help open up the GB defense even further to help cover up some other lacking areas.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23