Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

LSU's Jackson Could Be Quick Fix for Jags; by Phillip Heilman

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

LSU's Jackson Could Be Quick Fix for Jags; by Phillip Heilman

Article excerpt

Byline: pheilman@jacksonville.com

Note: Each week leading into the 2018 NFL Draft, the Times-Union will take a longer look at one player who might be considered a good fit for the Jaguars.

How fast is LSU cornerback Donte Jackson?

After teammate D.J. Chark ran the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month, Jackson was asked if he was concerned about possibly not being the fastest player from his own college program.

He wasn't.

"4.34? I can run that not stretching," said the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Jackson.

Jackson backed up that confidence by running in 4.32. That tied Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward and Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson for the fastest time at the event.

The performance was no surprise for Jackson, a decorated track athlete who was a finalist in the 60-meter indoors and 100-meter outdoors at SEC Championships during the 2017 season.

Speed that has helped Jackson become a possible first-round pick in April. Speed that makes him a player the Jaguars could be monitoring.

Jackson has experience playing outside, in the slot and occasionally at safety. That versatility would be a nice addition for the Jaguars, particularly if they lose nickel cornerback Aaron Colvin when free agency begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

"From the waist down, I'm track," said Jackson, a two-year starter who totaled 114 tackles, four interceptions and 24 passes defensed during his three seasons at LSU. "Everything else up from there, my mentality, my toughness, my swagger, my confidence, all that's straight football player."

Jackson showed as much during his junior season. He finished with 49 tackles and added one sack, one interception and 11 passes defensed before declaring for the draft.

Film review of his games against Florida and Texas A&M shows Jackson has elite athleticism, which can mask some of his deficiencies. His work ethic is also impressive.

Jackson was on the field for 50 defensive plays during a 17-16 victory over the Gators and lined up in several different spots. He was in the slot for 26 snaps, the outside cornerback on 15 snaps and played a hybrid linebacker role eight times. …

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