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Film Room: The Good, the Great, and the Ugly of New York Giants CB Adoree' Jackson's Game

Nick Falato has your breakdown on new Giants cornerback Adoree' Jackson's strengths and weaknesses.

The Giants have now landed their second starting cornerback - former Tennessee Titans’ 2017 first round selection Adoree’ Jackson, who signed a 3-year, $39 million contract, with incentives that can max out at $44.5 million. Jackson also received slightly over $20 million in guaranteed money.

New York was heavily intrigued by the star athlete, and the team had current safety, and former Tennessee Titan Logan Ryan flew up from Florida to help recruit Jackson to the squad. 

Let’s be honest, though: $13 million a year was the real reason Jackson joined the Patrick Graham-led defense. Jackson’s deal comes in right below William Jackson III’s agreement with Washington and Shaquill Griffin’s contract with the Jaguars--both of who were signed by their respective teams this off-season.

Jackson was released earlier this off-season by the Titans; reportedly, Jackson and the current staff did not see eye-to-eye. According to Pro Football Focus, the 5’10, 186-pound, 25-year-old cornerback has two career interceptions and 34 passes defended to go along with 207 tackles. One concerning stat is the 15 touchdowns surrendered since 2017. Jackson only played in 4 2020 games.

In the past, I’ve had the privilege of writing several articles for Giants’ Country that followed a specific format - the good, the great, and the ugly. I feel it is necessary to use this format when going over Adoree’ Jackson because there are some warts and inconsistencies to his game. Let’s get into the good.

Adoree’ Jackson is No. 25.

The Good: Willingness in run support

I specify willingness because Jackson isn’t scared to come up in run support and aggressively attempt to make a tackle, but his play strength and effectiveness aren’t always great.

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According to PFF, he has 26 missed tackles in his career, and they aren’t due to a deficiency in competitive toughness. He’s the secondary force defender on this play, and his current teammate Logan Ryan (26) does a great job taking out the lead blocker at the legs. 

This key play allows Jackson to come in strong and hit Mack low. He flies in with aggression, tenacity and does a good job forcing Mack to fall out of bounds.

He does a similarly good job on this play by flying downhill and fighting through a wide receiver’s block. He attacks the receiver's outside shoulder to put himself in a good position to defeat the block outside and ensure that no running back can gain the edge. Jackson gets a hold of Leonard Fournette’s (No. 27) toe and trips him up for a yardage loss.

The fun of playing against Andy Reid! This is an excellently designed play by the Chiefs that moves the pocket away from the quarterback and sets up a screen. Jackson is the only initial defender in front of several Chiefs blockers, and he does a great job to get outside and not allow the play to break for a big gain. 

One’s taught never to concede ground in football, but Jackson had to here to buy time, and it helped save the Titans from what could have been a huge gain.

Jackson does a good job maintaining the continuity of the defense as a contain/force defender. We see it here against big A.J. Dillion (28). 

Jackson flies into the screen and hits Dillion on the side while moving laterally; the lack of power is evident, especially against a player like Dillion. He doesn’t bring him down by himself, but he’s able to slow him down and allow for a rally tackle, which is a positive in this case.

A lot of Jackson’s tackles are like the one above. There is no fear, but the play strength is adequate against running backs like Chris Ivory (33). Jackson gets low and opens up his tackle radius. 

He impedes their ability to break off big plays, and he makes good tackles at times, but that lack of power shows up a decent amount, and all it takes sometimes is a broken tackle to lead to a long touchdown run.

Jackson gets tossed to the side by A.J. Dillion here, but he boxes him inside towards his teammates, which is very important. Contain defenders have to do just that--they contain and force everything inside. Jackson gets tossed down, but Dillion doesn’t get outside of him.

Jackson shows off his impressive ability to work through trash and use his speed/quickness to track down this ball carrier from behind. This is an excellent display of backside pursuit from Adoree’ Jackson, and he makes this tackle for a loss of seven yards. 

Jackson is a solid open-field tackler as well. He takes good angles to the football, executes sound mechanics to break down, gets low, and attacks, but the lack of play strength is an issue, as I've already stated.

The Great: Man Coverage Ability

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Some of these clips may not be true man coverage, but we can glean the coverage skills from them. Jackson shows exceptional athletic ability throughout his film; it’s not always consistent, but when he’s on, he’s on. 

When all cylinders are firing for Jackson, he’s a high-end cornerback two, and a big reason for that is his athletic ability. Jackson is playing in off coverage against Curtis Samuel (10) in this clip above. 

Samuel hits his stem and goes vertical, and Jackson handles the speed and burst well; the only reason Samuel ends up gaining a step is because Jackson’s eyes locate the football in the air, and he realizes that it’s underthrown. 

Jackson leaps up and almost makes an acrobatic one-handed interception. Jackson shows good tracking ability while also almost coming away with a great interception.

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This is a similar clip against Tyreek Hill (10), only Hill beats Jackson a bit. To Jackson’s credit, he uses excellent recovery speed to close width on Hill, who hit a second speed and started to accelerate past Jackson. 

Luckily for Jackson, he has excellent acceleration skills too. He turns on his jets, and the ball is slightly underthrown, so Jackson can dive and then, at the last second, locate the ball to get a finger on it.

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This is a man-beater route with the #2 receiver releasing up the field at Jackson to try and cut off the angle from the underneath route. Jackson patiently waits for the receiver to break inside underneath the traffic and then explodes over the top and back downhill while being disruptive at the catch point.

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I love this play from Jackson, and it’s indicative of Jackson’s quick change of direction skills. He’s lined up outside the divider line to the weak-side of the offensive formation. 

He’s aligned with inside leverage, forcing Calvin Ridley (No. 18) to the outside. Jackson shows great man coverage skills here with his fluid hips, footwork, and change of direction ability while also showing exceptional eye discipline to react to Ridley's break. 

Jackson waits for the football to be released before attacking the ball with his inside arm, while his outside arm subtly controls the receiver and acts as a secondary barrier if he misses with his first attempt. This is a good technique here by Jackson, and he shows that incredible athletic ability in tight spaces.

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Jackson gets to line up against DeAndre Hopkins (10) in another man coverage rep. Jackson does a good job initially riding Hopkins inside, and I love how he handles the second vertical break; Hopkins sells the post route hoping for a sloppy transition with the safety since it’s a subtle double move back into a vertical route. 

Jackson is able to limit the space on the post and smoothly transitions with Hopkins on the vertical, not allowing the receiver to beat him deep. He doesn’t lose his balance, and he continues up the field in a great position to force an incomplete pass and another almost interception.

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Here’s another rep against Hopkins that Jackson is able to win and earn an interception off of. Jackson doesn’t do the best job at the line of scrimmage against Hopkins, but he uses that track background to unlock that recovery speed. He closes width, gets back into position, rides the outside hip, and then leaps in front of Hopkins to intercept the football.

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In the Divisional Round upset against the Baltimore Ravens, Jackson had three batted balls away, and this one is very impressive against the speedy Marquise Brown. Jackson’s movement skills laterally, and with his hips turned, are impressive. Jackson’s in a back-pedal; he stays on top of Brown’s route well. He then commits his hips vertically up the stem. 

Once Jackson does that, Brown hits the comeback outside, and Jackson can transition through his hip commitment, move laterally, and then explode downhill through Brown’s extended arms to knock the pass away. This is an athletic and instinctive play, with a good finish by Adoree’ Jackson.

These clips aren’t always consistent in his film, but Adoree’ Jackson is more than capable of executing man coverage and utilizing his athletic traits to maximize his coverage ability. I think better coaching may make him a more consistent player because he has given up many big plays in his career, and there are some technical faults at times.

The Ugly: Inconsistencies

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Devante Adams (17) is one of the best receivers in the league, but I feel like he was in Jackson’s head a bit in the week 16 2020 game. Jackson gets beat on a deep horizontal cross here, and he didn’t seem to be in a great position right from the snap due to some pre-snap motion. 

If we look real close, we can see Jackson protecting the vertical route from Adams, even slightly after the break. The way Jackson’s hips are directed are a little too open and up-field to help protect a horizontal cross--there’s a lot of space between Adams and Jackson. Once Adams breaks inside, it takes a bit too long for Jackson to get back in phase and affect Adams’ ability to catch the ball.

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Nothing really happens on this play, but Jackson doesn’t seem comfortable. His discipline at the line of scrimmage is affected by Adams's release and the sheer fact that Adams had a game for the ages in this affair. 

Jackson doesn’t seem comfortable, and he doesn’t seem to trust his eyes or positioning; he seems to be over-compensating a bit. It’s understandable; Jackson gave up two touchdowns to Adams in this game, neither was really egregious on Jackson’s part. 

One was a quick screen where Jackson couldn’t bring Adams down quick enough, and the other was a perfect throw over Adams’ shoulder from quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Here they both are…

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Jackson also had his struggles against T.Y. Hilton (13) in the past. The safety played this horribly and was completely fooled by the play-action pass. There’s still a level of concern when one considers that Jackson should have been aware he had no safety help at around the 40-yard-line, yet he still allowed Hilton to accelerate past him. 

Jackson was in full scramble mode and wasn’t aware of the pass as he closed width on Hilton; his lack of awareness allowed Hilton to break away and score the touchdown, for Jackson didn’t make the tackle when he was able to get close to the receiver.

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Jackson also struggled with Hilton later in that same game. He plays the slant route well and bites down hard, reacting very well and decisively. This stops Hilton, who then breaks his route outside and upfield in an extemporaneous manner. 

This puts Hilton in the driver's seat, and Jackson is a step behind. Once Jackson locates Hilton after the catch, he doesn’t have the play strength to drag Hilton out of bounds, resulting in another touchdown.


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Final Thoughts

Jackson has the ability to effectively play man coverage for this Patrick Graham system. When all things are clicking, he’s very aware and instinctive, and his skills can be utilized in a zone defense as well. The Giants added a good number two cornerback to pair with James Bradberry, which now makes an incredibly young and formidable secondary. 

Jackson’s a good player with a lot of upside, but he’s not perfect. The coaching from this staff --Joe Judge, Patrick Graham, Jerome Henderson, and Jeremy Pruitt--will do him well. 

He makes the defense and the special teams better. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his ability as a kick returner and punt returner. He’s dynamic with the ball in his hands, and he’s going to be an option in these roles for the Giants. The Giants spent big in free agency--over $125 million in contracts--, and they’ll now be in serious contention to win this NFC East. 


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