—Physical at the line of scrimmage and can end route stems before they begin.
—Well-built frame (6’1″, 210 pounds) with thickness to be forceful in run support.
—Tackles without hesitation and could make a move to safety to get on the field sooner.
—Impressive athlete who opened eyes at the NFL combine with a 4.45-second run in the 40-yard dash and 40.5-inch vertical jump.
—Recovery speed is poor and helps receiver separation grow after route breaks.
—Lethargic feet struggle to fire into and out of transition steps.
—Tightly wound lower half with limited flexibility affecting footwork.
—Lacks the explosion and burst in close quarters to contest quick throws.
—Gets too lost and too jumpy in man coverage and might only be seen as a zone cornerback or potential safety.
Jackson looks the part with his excellent size and 4.45 speed, but his lack of coverage instincts and awareness in-phase are poor enough that teams could decide he’s either no more than a depth cornerback or a potential target for a position change to safety. He’s worth a flier since height and speed can’t be coached.
Just like that, our Michael Jackson puns and allusions are now in the hands of NFL writers and columnists. We’d never tell him to beat it, but like the smooth criminal he is, MJ is going to moonwalk right into his future. Our apologies, but we had to give Michael Jackson Sr. one last proper farewell. With a selection in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys have chosen former Miami Hurricanes cornerback Michael Jackson Sr.
As football fans, we all have moments where we lose our patience. We need to score, we need a stop, and we need that freshman to produce right away, rather than when he becomes an upperclassmen. There’s something to be said for a player who can gradually improve in college, the student-athletes pushing themselves each offseason to make their next season better than the last. Given the illustrious history of talent to come from the University of Miami, the development of NFL stars at the institution is exemplified in cornerback Michael Jackson Sr.
By now, Mike Jack is accustomed to the ‘Man in the Mirror’, ‘Moonwalking’ and ‘Thriller’ references attached with each play he factors into. However, there’s a clear separation of the two men when Jackson Sr. steps onto the football field. He established himself as one of the premier defensive backs in the country during his upperclassmen years. Given his humble beginnings at Miami, many were pleasantly surprised at how integral Jackson Sr. became to the Hurricanes’ defense.
Jackson has a tall sturdy frame for a cornerback entering the NFL. As a cornerback who is over six-foot, MJ has the size and experience coming from Miami to play press man coverage against bigger-bodied receivers. With good timing, Jackson does enough to disrupt the route after the snap. He also has great speed and is able to stay with his matchup down the field. Jackson is susceptible to double-moves and in-breaking routes, yet illustrates his ability to recover well to make a play on the ball or the receiver.
After spending his freshman season working primarily on special teams, Jackson progressed to gain a rotational role as a defensive back. His junior season (2017) is when he enjoyed his biggest breakout. Securing 43 tackles, four interceptions, three tackles-for-loss, five pass breakups and a sack put him on the national radar. While there was discussion regarding whether or not he would declare early for the 2018 NFL Draft, Jackson Sr. ultimately chose to remain a Hurricane for another season.
Entering the 2018 season with expectations to thrive at the next level, Jackson went from a relative unknown to preseason All-Conference nominee in one offseason. Jackson’s numbers as a senior won’t overwhelm you — 42 tackles, 6 PBUs, 3.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks — but he turned in yet another productive season.
More importantly, Jackson became a father for the first time before the start of the 2018 season. Juggling a multitude of labels such as Dad, student-athlete and team captain, the Alabama product handled all the responsibilities placed upon him. This doesn’t come as a shock to Canes fans who have witnessed the evolution of MJ from a quiet teenager to the vocal leader of Miami’s CBs in 2018. Motivated by his son and his family, Jackson now sets his sight on becoming the next star from the U at the NFL level.
Given his performance as the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, it is apparent that Mike Jack is an athletic specimen who could work as an outside corner as pro. Given the way Miami emphasizes their corners to be tough against the run, MJ is a plus defender in run support. Using his long arms, Jackson is a wrap-up tackler that shows no hesitation corralling the quarterback or ball carrier to the grass.
When asked how he would describe his game, Jackson referred to himself as an aggressive cornerback. That holds true when you watch film and see No. 28 locate the ball in coverage and bat away a pass or eclipse the intended target from making the reception. Under the tutelage of Miami defensive back coach Mike Rumph, Michael Jackson exceeded all expectations when he arrived to UM campus. As he becomes one step closer to joining corners like DeMarcus van Dyke and Antrel Rolle and representing the U in the NFL, it feels like those who are unfamiliar with Michael Jackson Sr. are underestimating his talent. A motivated, hungry and mature prospect, the evolution of Michael Jackson will continue well into his NFL career.
Rasul Douglas – Philadelphia Eagles
Six-foot tall cornerbacks are fairly common in today’s NFL. They’re necessary to combat offenses that employ large receivers. Rasul Douglas has played two seasons in the league and has shown potential to be a staple of the Eagles’ defense. Douglas’ listed playing weight is above 200 pounds and both he and Jackson have an ability to break up intended passes. I think Jackson has the better hands of the two, but depending on where MJ is drafted, his trajectory to becoming a rotational player shares some similarities with Douglas.
State of the U would like to congratulate Michael Jackson Sr. on being drafted in the NFL. Canes fans look forward to following your career at the next level!
In the fifth round, there are very few players selected who will make an immediate impact on the team that picks them. In fact, there are going to be more players who won’t play a meaningful down of pro football than those who turn into starters. But for a player like Michael Jackson, on a team stocked up on cornerback talent like the Dallas Cowboys, he could find himself somewhere in between.
The Cowboys had no shortage of young, talented CBs when they selected Jackson 158th overall. Byron Jones is coming off a Pro Bowl season in 2018 and third year player Chidobe Awuzie is a solid starter across from Jones. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown are capable backups with the ability to play both inside and outside and would likely start on other teams. With four starting caliber CBs on the roster, it’ll be an uphill battle for MJ to find a role on the defense. Most likely, he’ll be used in relief of the outside starters and could replace someone like Awuzie when his contract ends.
The one thing that Jackson brings to this talented Dallas secondary is size. MJ is the only one of those aforementioned players who is over 6 feet tall. At 6’1” and 200 pounds, Jackson stands a better chance of dealing with the NFL’s biggest receivers than the sub-6 foot Awuzie and Brown. Depending on how quickly he picks up the playbook, Jackson could find himself utilized as a matchup defender, playing in short yardage or red zone situations against bigger receivers on the field. Jackson proved himself as a great jump-ball defender at Miami and when tested in 2017, showed his ball skills with 4 takeaways.
Jackson could also be used in a way that the Cowboys’ 2017 6th round pick, Xavier Woods, was. A safety from Louisiana Tech, Dallas moved him around their defense and had him fit into both safety roles and at CB. Jackson should see work not only as a boundary corner but as a nickel against big nickel receivers and possibly even a SS, considering his strength as a run support DB. While it goes without saying, Jackson will certainly have a big role on special teams and could find more playing time on defense if he becomes a premier ST gunner.