Adoree’ Jackson, a former football player for Belleville East who went on to play for the University of Southern California as a cornerback and kick-returner, was the 18th pick in the NFL draft on Thursday, when he was selected by the Tennessee Titans.
Reaction to the high pick was mixed, with several sources praising his athletic abilities while others worried about Jackson’s size. At 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, Jackson was a three-year starter for the Trojans and was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.
Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times thought Jackson’s pick fills a need for the Titans on defense and improves Tennessee’s special-teams.
Speaking to Farmer about Jackson’s abilities, one scout said, “He may struggle against a bigger receiver, get pushed off a route or bounce off a tackle. You don’t like to draft a small corner in the first round unless they’re really dynamic. This guy may be.”
“For somebody as talented and athletic as him, Jackson allowed too many big plays,” wrote Joseph Zucker of Bleacher Report. “And while his aggressive nature allowed him to intercept five passes, he also played himself out of position by jumping routes and taking too many risks.”
Adam Stites at SB Nation was more upbeat about Jackson’s prospects.
“If the NFL draft simply reflected college careers, Adoree’ Jackson may have been a top-10 pick,” Stites wrote. “Instead, he was scooped up by the Titans in the first round with the No. 18 selection, giving them another cornerback and a dangerous return threat.”
“Even if he doesn’t become the starting cornerback, Jackson’s abilities as a returner are a good Plan B,” Stites wrote.
As for Jackson, he is happy about the selection.
“Excited to be a part of a great organization in the @Titans,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “Thank you, @Titans, will never forget this night.”