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Chargers CB Asante Samuel Jr. Shares Strong First Impression of J.C. Jackson

Asante Samuel Jr. delivers high praise for J.C. Jackson.

The Chargers landed the most coveted defender on the free agent market this offseason, signing cornerback J.C. Jackson to a five-year, $82.5 million contract that includes $40 million guaranteed.

The Chargers, whose defense allowed 27 points per game last season – marking the third-worst in the NFL – now inserts the interception leader (17) spanning across the last two seasons.

Jackson will hold down one of the outside cornerback spots, joining last year's starters Asante Samuel Jr. and Michael Davis among others on the backend.

Samuel, 22, is entering his second year in the NFL following a rookie campaign in which he registered two interceptions, tied for a team-high alongside safety Derwin James.

Jun 15, 2021; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel (26) during minicamp at the Hoag Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, Samuel was asked at the Chargers' offseason workout program what his thoughts are of Jackson thus far, and he had nothing but high praise for the team's newcomer.

“J.C. Jackson is a dog," Samuel said. "He’s a ball player. He wants to get better and he wants to work. That’s what we definitely need – a ballhawk that just wants to work.”

Jackson's work ethic has been one that has received high praise dating back to his four years in New England. From going undrafted in 2018 after departing from the University of Maryland, Jackson has propelled himself into one of the premier cover cornerbacks in the league – an accomplishment that certainly plays into his rigorous working mentality.

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Samuel's high praise of Jackson comes from the few interactions they've had over the last few months. Despite both players having roots tied to the Florida area – and both spending time training there during the offseason months – they did not share a connection prior to Jackson signing with the Chargers.

Nov 28, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson (27) reacts after intercepting a pass in the Tennessee Titans end zone in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

“I’ve seen his highlights and his film, things of that nature, but I didn’t get to know him," Samuel said in regards to what he knew about Jackson prior to him joining the team. "We’ve been getting to know each other day-by-day, so it’s been good. Just learning on film, the little things, whatever he wants to teach me.”

Samuel suggested that while they still haven't gotten together much on the field to work on the schematics of the defensive concepts at this point in the offseason, Jackson has taken upon a role to help offer any feedback to Samuel.

“We really haven’t been doing football things, just talking with him and stuff like that," Samuel said. "Definitely, I can tell that he is trying to, not necessarily be a big brother, but a mentor — whatever he sees, and whatever I ask of him, he will tell me and try to help me get better with it.”

Samuel put together a notable rookie season when on the field. However, he endured two concussions over a short span during the back half of the year which limited his availability. Assuming better health is in front of Samuel, now having Jackson as a go-to resource beside him could launch a major sophomore campaign from the Chargers' former second-round pick.

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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.