When you think Tennessee Titans and dual threat, quarterback Marcus Mariota immediately comes to mind…
Tennessee drafted cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, a talented and versatile athlete, with the 18th overall pick in this year’s draft. The USC product just finished his first training camp as a professional, and by all accounts it seems apparent that Mariota now has company.
In his three years as a Trojan, Jackson proved to be not only one of the best cornerbacks in the country, but he was also a dangerous and electrifying return man on special teams.
Last season teams usually made the wise decision of throwing away from Jackson, but when they did test his side of the field he often made them pay with 5 interceptions and 11 pass breakups. Jackson also chipped in 55 total tackles, making him a complete weapon for USC’s defense.
Desperate for an upgrade at both positions, the Titans selected Jackson with the intention of killing two birds with one stone, and so far the stone is hitting its mark.
Of all of the new additions to the team, Jackson’s training camp performance has been one of the best. He has consistently shown a knack of being in the right place at the right time, and has wowed his teammates and coaches with his blazing recovery speed and ability to locate the ball in the air.
Jackson forced the first turnover of training camp when he stripped the ball away from receiver Tre McBride, but that is nothing new. He also forced at least one fumble in each of his three years in college.
Jackson also picked off several balls throughout camp, and earned the accolades of several Carolina Panthers players after two days of joint practices this week.
While holding his own in such a short time on defense, the rookie has proven to be no one-trick-pony.
Some of Jackson’s most electrifying plays has come as a returner in training camp. On back to back nights he garnered oohs and ahs from thousands of onlookers while returning kicks and punts, something the Titans are in desperate need of this season.
Like his ball hawking skills as a corner, this too should come as no surprise.
While at USC Jackson returned 8 kicks for touchdowns, 4 on kick returns and another 4 on punt returns. He also averaged over 27 yards per kick return in his collegiate career.
Head coach Mike Mularkey said that Jackson, who was also a highlight reel waiting to happen on offense at USC, will be eased onto that side of the ball once he has a firm grasp of his defensive duties. And if training camp is any indication, then he will flourish there too.
In limited time on offense, Jackson still managed to haul in 39 receptions for 6 touchdowns (16.1 yards per reception) while at USC, so if and when the Titans decide to put him on that side of the ball you can expect fireworks.
Mariota’s dual-threat versatility helped springboard Tennessee’s offense from one of the worst prior to his arrival to one of the most feared heading into this season.
If Jackson can do the same for the secondary and return game then the Titans are well on their way to a division title in 2017.