Heading into the 2021 season, Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane believes they might not have to stray far to find a starting cornerback opposite of Tre’Davious White.
When Beane met with the media for his end of the season interview on Wednesday, the Pro Football Writers Association Executive of the Year touched on several different topics and one of them revolved around rookie cornerback Dane Jackson.
On Tuesday, the Bills announced that they were signing Jackson to a reserve/future contract for next season but Beane believes that he could have an even bigger impact heading into his second season.
“He will have every opportunity next year to not only win a spot, but we’ll see who starts opposite Tre [White],” Beane said via Carly Mascitti from News 10 NBC.
In his first season in the NFL, Jackson spent most of his time on the practice squad but he did have the opportunity to play in five games and he stepped up big in all of them.
He recorded the first interception of his career in the first start of his career when he picked off New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold late in the first half of their second matchup of the year. The play acted as a momentum swing for the Bills and they only allowed four more yards the rest of the game.
Jackson also stepped up against the Arizona Cardinals when contact tracing protocols decimated the Bills secondary and Jackson was forced to match up against DeAndre Hopkins on multiple occasions. He ended up recording eight tackles, one pass deflection, and one fumble recovery.
His ability to step up on any occasion impressed Beane, which is why he believes he has a good shot to start next season.
“He really showed it wasn’t too big for him,” Beane said via Thad Brown from RochesterFirst.com.
In total, Jackson recorded 15 tackles, one for a loss, one fumble recovery, five pass deflections, and he started in two of the five games he played in.
Levi Wallace and Josh Norman are Free Agents This Offseason
Beane’s praise of Jackson means even more when both of the cornerbacks who played ahead of Jackson this season, Josh Norman and Levi Wallace, are free agents this offseason.
According to NFL.com’s Kevin Patra, Norman signed a 1-year, $6 million contract with the Bills in the offseason and Levi Wallace is a restricted free agent this offseason. So, heading into next season, Jackson could be competing with the former Alabama defensive back for a starting role if the Bills bring him back.
Beane Also Praised Rookie Kicker Tyler Bass
With a season like he had, it’s no surprise that Beane had praise for rookie kicker Tyler Bass as well.
Bass made 28 of his 34 field goal attempts and also converted 57 of his 59 point after attempts while setting Bills records for most points as a rookie and in a single season.
“Nothing was too big for this kid and he’s not afraid of the big moment,” Beane said via Carly Mascitti from News 10 NBC. “Never made an excuse. A lot of times kickers will make excuses…any misses he had, he took it right on him. I thought that was great quality.”
In Buffalo’s AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Bass made all four of his field goal attempts, including two from 51 yards.