(Editor's Note: While the start of the 2018 NFL Draft isn't until April 26, it's never too early to profile some of the key participants. The staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of the draft's top prospect, with an emphasis on possible Cowboys draft picks – from the first round to the last. Today's featured player is LSU's Donte Jackson.)
- Name: Donte Jackson
- Position: Cornerback
- Height/Weight:5-10 / 178
- Honors:All-SEC selection as a junior in 2017.
- Key Stat: Jackson posted career-highs in tackles (49) and pass breakups (10) in his final college season, while also contributing at receiver and returner during his three-year stay at LSU.
Where He's Projected:
Most draft observers believe Jackson will get selected anywhere from the first to third round, but it's highly unlikely he'll still be on the board when Day 3 rolls around. He's one of the most gifted cornerbacks from a program known for developing NFL talent in the secondary.
How He Helps The Cowboys:
Want closing speed at cornerback? Jackson has it. A member of the SEC champion 4x100 relay team at LSU, Jackson ran a 4.32-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and reportedly posted a 4.31 at his Pro Day this week. The Cowboys have drafted a strong group of young cornerbacks already, and 2015 first-round pick Byron Jones could move over from safety. A talent like Jackson, though, would really shore up the depth following two veteran departures (Orlando Scandrick to Washington, Bene Benwikere, Cardinals) and create more matchup options for new defensive passing game coordinator/DBs coach Kris Richard.
- Played some at safety. Start-stop quickness.
- Can turn him around. Has trouble staying in position. Jump routes. Will lose his man.
- Will extend for the ball to knock away. Also knocks the ball away when he gets in position. Will react to the ball.
- Receivers push off him. Is not afraid to grab in order to play coverage.
- Will come up to tackle. Plays taller than he is.
- Not always sure where he is on the field in zone.
- Will try and strip the ball loose.
- Can cover ground, but doesn't always take the best angle. Doesn't always play in balance.