The Tennessee Titans used their second first-round pick at a much-needed position at cornerback, selecting Adoree’ Jackson of Southern California at No. 18 overall.
Jackson, a very versatile player who is also a kick returner, was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2016,
Jackson should come in and compete right away as a starting cornerback, thanks to his speed, ability to break on the football. Jackson had 138 tackles, 29 pass breakups and six interceptions on defense for the Trojans.
Jackson, 5-10, 186 pounds, is also a track athlete and played on offense and special teams with 39 receptions. He has scored touchdowns as a receiver, a punt returner, kickoff returner and defensive back.
“We’re excited about him as a defensive player, and then the added value in the kicking game as a returner,” Titans GM Jon Robinson said.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey said that Jackson’s first task will be as an outside cornerback, where he should start opposite Logan Ryan and eventually will learn to play as a nickelback as well.
“We’re going to start him off at corner, probably outside, and let him get comfortable there before we move him inside,” Mularkey said, while admitting that Jackson could also eventually see snaps on offense as a gadget-type weapon.
His main task on special teams will be as a punt returner initially, according to Mularkey.
The Titans’ secondary was a major Achilles heel last season, as they finished 30th in the league against the pass and have spent the off-season revamping that portion of the defense.
Tennessee released long-time cornerback Jason McCourty, allowed cornerback Valentino Blake to walk away in free agency. They showed no interest in bringing back safety Daimion Stafford.
Added to that, the Titans signed Ryan and safety Jonathan Cyprien in free agency.
Jackson said he enjoyed interacting with the Titans coaching staff during his visit to the team a couple of weeks ago.
“The type of coaching staff that they were, the type of players that they wanted and the mentality they had, I liked that a lot,” Jackson said. “I”m excited to go to this organization and learn from this group of corners that are vets and for them to help me out and learn everything as much as possible.”
Robinson said that with both Jackson and Davis that productivity in college was an important aspect in their evaluation and eventual selection.
“I think that’s important for those guys to produce for their three or four years or ever how long they’re in college. That, for the most part, tends to carry over into the NFL,” Robinson said.