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Why Mike Jackson Didn't Care About Draft Status


(Editor's Note: With training camp just around the corner, let's get to know 30 Cowboys players – from rookies to established veterans – who are new to the current 90-man roster. Today we continue the series with rookie cornerback Mike Jackson Sr.)

How He Got Here: One of two Cowboys fifth-round draft picks from the Miami program, Jackson is a former All-ACC second-team selection who started 23 games over his final two college seasons. He posted four interceptions as a junior and six pass breakups as a senior. The Cowboys snatched him with their top fifth-round pick in April, No. 158 overall.

Bet You Didn't Know: The first person Jackson thought of when the Cowboys drafted him: Richard Sherman. The 49ers veteran was once a fifth-round pick, too, and he's been among the best corners in the league this century. Sherman developed into an All-Pro in Seattle under current Cowboys defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator Kris Richard. That's inspiration for Jackson. "Just come in, be a team player and follow the footsteps that Coach Richard tells me to follow," he says.

Quotable: "Me personally, I don't care about how high I go (in the draft) as long as I went to the right team because if you go high and you go to the wrong team, you can end up a bust or whatever you want to call it. I feel like Coach Richard had seen something in me." – Mike Jackson Sr.

Bryan Broaddus' Take: Jackson was selected in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. That's the exact spot the club had him on its draft board. Outstanding timed speed (4.38) in the 40. Highly competitive player. Loves to mix it up with the receiver. Plays well in space. Comfortable with movement but would not call him a "twitchy" athlete. Going to play the route with speed. Length also helps him here. Will not shy away from contact. Physical tackler. If there's a question about his game, it's his ball skills. Did not have an interception his final season at Miami. Will need to develop those at the pro level. Coaching staff has thrown him into the deep end of the pool to see if he can swim. Has played outside during OTAs/minicamp but has also seen some action inside at the slot. Has a real shot to make the roster on his ability, but it also helps that the coaches feel he can play in some different spots.

Role/Roster Chances: To Bryan's point, Richard says Jackson has "corner and nickel combo ability for us." When coaches try young players in different spots, typically it's a sign they like their potential. The cornerback depth chart is deep, and Jackson will have to help on special teams to make the squad. But it's worth noting that Pro Bowler Byron Jones is expected to continue his offseason hip surgery rehab into training camp. There will be extra practice snaps in Oxnard for Jackson to show what he can do.