As a former first-round pick, a lot of expected of Adoree’ Jackson when he first arrived with the Tennessee Titans.
The Titans had him not only playing in the secondary as a rookie, but also returning kicks and even getting a taste on offense as a gadget player to take advantage of his speed.
But now entering his fourth season, Jackson has settled into mostly a cornerback role. He hasn’t been on offense since he was a rookie, and his time as a return man was limited last year.
It paid off in that Jackson played well enough in 2019 that the Titans elected to pick up his fifth-year option, meaning he will be in Tennessee for at least two more seasons with a chance at earning an extension.
“It’s truly a blessing to be able to get your fifth-year option picked up. It’s just kind of like reassurance that they believe in me, have faith in what you can bring and what you can add to this team. I was thankful when I got the call from JRob (Jon Robinson), I talked to him,” Jackson said. “That was my first feeling, I was just excited, just smiling and happy. I love being a part of the Titans and being able to play in not just a great city, but with great people and great players. Then with the responsibility factor, just keep doing the work, everyday improve and get better. It doesn’t stop, it doesn’t change. Nothing does. Just got to keep grinding and keep working, and doing what you’re supposed to do out there.”
While Jackson says his approach won’t change with the option being picked up – the Titans declined a fifth year on receiver Corey Davis – his role and responsibility might change a bit.
With Logan Ryan out the door, though he remains unsigned as a free agent, the Titans might consider Jackson the heir apparent in the slot, especially when the matchup on the inside is a speedy, vertical type receiver like a Tyreek Hill or Will Fuller.
If that’s the case, the Jackson welcomes the role.
“It’s pretty much whatever Coach (Mike) Vrabel, and Midge (Anthony Midget), and everybody thinks it should be handled. Going into the aspect of if I’m going to be playing more inside at nickel, and the difference is it’s more about being more aware of your surroundings for what the safeties may have, or the linebackers and everything, because you all play on one accord,” he said. “You all are together, that’s the big difference. When you’re playing corner you pretty much have to worry about yourself in those aspects, and playing the nickel is a lot of different assignments and alignments and techniques that come into play. Being able to go in these virtual meetings and listen in and see the picture, and the virtual classroom and things that we do to help get a better understanding and knowledge of the role and position just in case I’m needed.”
Jackson has been paying special attention in the Zoom meetings that have for now replaced off-season work and OTAs.
“When I’m in the meetings, I’m answering the questions, so if that’s what comes into play, that’s what’s going to happen. But as of right now, it hasn’t been a set in stone, straight answer for what it’s going to be going down,” Jackson said.
Safety Kenny Vaccaro endorsed Jackson for the nickelback role, if that is the direction the Titans head in 2020.
“I know he’s smart enough to do it. I know the nickel position takes a lot of football IQ, a lot of intelligence, and I know he has that. It’s on the coaches, whether they want to do that with him,” Vaccaro said.