Defense wins championships, and in order for the Seattle Seahawks to get back to the Super Bowl next season, they will need to address this side of the ball in 2022. With the offseason looming and tons of defensive free agents set to hit the open market, the Seahawks will be in the market for some new talent on defense.
With the Seahawks implementing a lot of zone coverage and relying on their defensive backs to make athletic plays, cornerback Donte Jackson is among the best potential fits for a defense like Seattle’s, according to Pro Football Focus.
Jackson, 26, is an athletic freak of nature, selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft. He possesses breakneck speed and an explosive vertical jump, which he uses to defend opponents in space.
The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder already has 12 career interceptions and 208 total tackles to his name and can complement a defensive back duo as a reliable number two corner, as PFF detailed.
“Donte Jackson has the speed to burn, but is at his best in zone coverage where he can keep his eye on the quarterback and use his athleticism to break on the ball. His best plays come using that speed to attack out-breaking routes.”
Pro Football Focus has Jackson ranked 27th out of its top 75 free-agents-to-be in 2022.
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Don’t Call it a Comeback
Jackson has the zone coverage football IQ and insane athleticism to back up the contract he’s looking to sign.
He plays best in space where he can use his speed to make a difference. Staying relatively healthy over the course of his first four seasons in the NFL, Jackson has been a valuable asset for the Carolina Panthers up until 2020, when he was hindered by a turf toe injury and missed two contests.
“This thing, it has a mind of its own, it plays tricks on you,” Jackson said in an October 2021 interview with ESPN. “You do so much work to get back and it’s just, How’s the toe? How’s the toe? … It has you thinking you’re good to go, and one jump, one false move, one push out of a break and you’re back to square one, starting the whole thing back over.”
Now in 2021, Jackson played 12 games before going down with a groin injury. He’s currently on injured reserve and will remain out for the rest of the season.
Maturity & Leadership Stand Out With Jackson
What sets Jackson apart is not just his athleticism and quick feet. He was named a Panthers team captain in 2021 and has matured quickly to become an important leader in Carolina.
When he first joined the Panthers, Jackson was a “headstrong rookie,” according to Panthers.com, constantly having been lectured by the veterans on the team. Four season later, Jackson owes his newfound maturity to his daughter.
“All of it is fatherhood. All of it. I think my daughter, I look at her and I think, ‘I can’t let you down.’ I can’t let none of my nonsense or none of my things that I don’t quite agree with effect you. I can’t be that loudmouth guy all the time…I don’t want her to see me throwing my helmet down, or see me smacking a bench on the sideline, because now she can comprehend,” Jackson told Panthers reporter Darin Gantt in September.
“Now that she has a little more understanding, I don’t want her to be like, ‘What’s dad doing, why’s he throwing his hat?’ … I’m more mindful of what I show and what I portray.”
His confidence and maturity would be welcome in a Seahawks locker room filled with full-fledged veterans and young players ready to step up.