Editor's Note: With the offseason in full swing, the focus is now shifting to the 2016 season, where the Cowboys have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Not only do the Cowboys face five playoff teams but many of the top players in football. So the writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys. Today, we continue the list with Redskins receiver DeSean Jackson.
Name: DeSean Jackson
2016 vs. Cowboys:Jackson has played the Cowboys twice a year during every year of his career – first with Philadelphia, now with Washington. His results have typically been mixed, and that was definitely the case in 2016. In the teams' first meeting, he hauled in six catches for 80 yards, not to mention a game-tying touchdown with just 44 seconds to play. The Redskins had already clinched the NFC East by the second meeting, and Jackson was rested for their playoff run. He suited up but did not record a catch.
What's the Deal: From the time he entered the NFL, Jackson has been considered one of the most dangerous deep threats in the entire league. That's been backed up by his stats, considering that he's averaged 18 yards per catch over the course of his career. However, Jackson can be inconsistent, and he's shown a penchant for making errant plays. The lasting impression of him from the 2015 season was from the wildcard round of the playoffs, when he made the mistake of forgetting to extend the ball over the goal line on a potential scoring play. The error cost Washington a crucial touchdown in a game the Redskins wound up losing to Green Bay. Despite all of that, Jackson has averaged 70 yards per game over an eight-year career, proving himself as someone defenses must account for.
Expect This: The Cowboys have actually fared fairly well against Jackson since 2012 – the year that Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne joined this team's secondary. In seven meetings since that time, Jackson has averaged just four receptions for 52 yards per game. He has also only scored two touchdowns against the Cowboys in that span. He has proven capable of hitting this defense for big plays at times, but not on a consistent basis.
Previous Meetings: Re-visiting those big plays – they haven't had much impact on recent outcomes. Jackson's touchdown last year at FedEx Field tied the score, 16-16, with less than a minute to play, but the Cowboys rebounded to win on a last-second field goal. The year before that, Jackson scored a 69-yard touchdown on Washington's third play of the game.
Bryan Broaddus Scouting Report:
- Still one of the most dangerous big play receivers in the league. Is a go-to player. Not afraid to throw him the ball at any level. Playing speed and initial quickness makes him difficult to deal with.
- Jackson can get on a defender quickly. He will eat up cushion in a hurry. Plays with a burst. Able to get vertical separation in a heartbeat. Home run type of receiver.
- Plays with outstanding body control and balance. Can start and stop an instant. Is able to change directions with explosive quickness. Can sell a route hard, hit the brakes and be in a totally different direction before the defender has a chance to react.
- He is not the type of receiver that is going to win many jump ball situations. Size limits how he plays in the air. He's better when he can get the ball on the move.[embeddedad0]
- Can sell routes but its more about speed than being precise. Will run routes in the middle of the field but hasn't always been a receiver that has been consistent when it comes to making that contested catch. When he gets knocked around and has to fight for the ball – he will struggle.
- Defenses need to be physical with him, because he is so dangerous when he has space to operate. Big run after catch player.
- Can be difficult to deal with when he gets in a rhythm – last year's Buffalo game was that way for him, as he had six catches for 153 yards. The more plays that he makes – the more he starts to take over a game.
- Never been a huge blocker because of his size, but that's not why he is in this lineup.