It’s not typical that losing a player who’s managed to appear in just six of his potential 32 games over his two-year career is perceived as a crushing blow to one’s roster.
However, that’s the exact predicament the New York Giants found themselves in on Wednesday when cornerback Sam Beal decided to opt-out of the forthcoming NFL season. Beal was in line for a potential starting gig in 2020 amid fellow Giants defensive back DeAndre Baker’s ongoing legal issues.
Now, after an offseason in which Big Blue dove headfirst into a secondary rebuild, one that saw them dole out $32M guaranteed to James Bradberry on the open market as well as use two of their top four draft picks on defensive backs, New York is now left scrapping for answers on the boundary of their defense.
Luckily, one of the league’s most promising young talents at the cornerback position could be up for grabs, as it is reportedly “very possible” that New England Patriots’ J.C. Jackson could be moved before the start of this season.
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Patriots CB J.C. Jackson is a Budding Star
He may not be Stephon Gilmore, but the other cornerback from New England is one hell of a football player in his own right. Need further confirmation about J.C. Jackson’s abilities? These absurd statistics should do the trick.
Jackson was recently pegged as the Patriots’ Most Underrated Player, and it’s easy to see why. According to PFF, the third-year corner ranks first in the NFL in completion percentage allowed since entering the league in 2017, postseason included.
Jackson’s minuscule 49.6 completion percentage allowed to opposing quarterbacks even outpaces the aforementioned Gilmore, who many perceive as the best cornerback in the game.
Furthermore, Jackson has proven to be one of the most effective corners in football when it comes to defending the deep ball. PFF notes that Jackson has been targeted 29 times on passes of 20 or more yards down the field in his career. On those targets, he’s allowed a mere three receptions, while intercepting six passes and adding in 10 pass breakups for good measure.
Jackson finished 2019 tied for the second-most interceptions in football a season ago (5 INT), this despite starting just six games on the year.
Jackson is the Exact Type of CB the Giants Need
While his production since entering the league in 2018 as an undrafted free-agent is nearly unparalleled, it’s Jackson’s size and age which make him an intriguing fit in New York.
Free-agent Logan Ryan has been constantly mentioned as a logical fit in New York. While he would certainly prove to be an upgrade to a secondary in dire need of a talent upgrade, Ryan, like the previously mention Holmes and Love, plays his best football from the slot.
Jackson on the other hand, measuring in at 6-foot-1-inches and nearly 200-pounds, has the skillset and size to go toe-to-toe with big-bodied, outside receivers on a week in, week out basis.
Also, at just 24-years of age, making a move for Jackson would not only help Big Blue’s secondary in the short-term, but he’d likely become a mainstay in New York’s secondary for years to come. Ryan on the other hand, while talented, is quickly approaching 30-years-old.
Jackson Has History with Giants Coaching Staff
Lastly, like nearly any current New England Patriots player, Jackson has connections to the Joe Judge-led coaching staff in New York.
Jackson played his first two seasons in the league working alongside not only Judge, who served as the Pats special teams coordinator at the time, but also Giants senior assistant Brett Bielema, who manned the role as a consultant and d-line coach over the past two years in New England.
The Patriots’ embarrassment of riches when it comes to their cornerback position is currently doing it’s best at putting a cap on Jackson’s budding superstardom. In New York Jackson would have every opportunity to remove that lid entirely.