Josh Jackson

Packers Sign CB Josh Jackson

The Packers have signed second-round cornerback Joshua Jackson, per a team announcement. The team has now inked ten of its eleven draft picks with third-round linebacker Oren Burks as the last remaining unsigned selection. 

Jackson was widely projected to be a mid-to-late first round pick heading into the draft. Fortunately for the Packers, the Big Ten defensive back of the year slipped to the middle of the second round, where they were about to pounce on him at No. 45.

The Iowa cornerback positioned himself as one of the best cornerbacks in this year’s draft with a breakout 2017 season. Jackson made a play on one out of every four targets in his direction and allowed zero touchdowns after Week 4 of the season. He finished out with eight interceptions, including three picks against Ohio State and two pick-sixes against Wisconsin. Jackson clearly thrives in pressure situations, though it’s possible that some teams cooled on him due to this being his only real big year in college.

The Packers project to start first-round cornerback Jaire Alexander and free agent addition Tramon Williams at cornerback. Jackson figures to be in the rotation behind them, along with veteran Davon House and second-year corner Kevin King.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Draft Rumors: Guice, Redskins, Patriots, Bills, Giants, Darnold

Running back Derrius Guice visited the Redskins at their team facility on Monday, a source tells John Keim of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Redskins have been public about their desire to add a pass-catching running back and Guice, with 18 catches last year at LSU, would fit the bill.

With needs to address on the other side of the ball, many believe that the Redskins will take a defensive player at No. 13 overall. However, the Redskins could probably trade back into the early 20s to take Guice and address their defensive holes later on.

Here’s the latest round of NFL draft news:

  • The Patriots hosted UCLA left tackle Kolton Miller on a pre-draft visit, Ben Volin of The Boston Globe tweets.
  • Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen met with the Bills on Monday and will travel to the Giants on Tuesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Meanwhile, USC QB Sam Darnold met with the Giants on Monday and will meet with the Jets on Tuesday.
  • Linebacker Rashaan Evans visited the Bengals on Monday, Rapoport tweets. The Bengals own the No. 21 pick in the draft, which could allow them to snag the Alabama standout.
  • Speaking of Alabama, Rapoport also notes that standout defensive lineman Da’Ron Payne met with the Redskins on Monday. Payne has shot up draft boards in recent weeks thanks to his remarkable strength. “He’s the best. He’s the best I’ve seen,”Alabama strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran said earlier this year. “I’ve never seen a guy hit 385 on the power clean every single year. His first year he hit 365 on the power clean and it was like wow, freshman, that’s incredible.
  • USC running back Ronald Jones visited the Patriots on Monday, Rapoport tweets. Within the same tweet, he notes that Stanford safety Justin Reid visited the Panthers before heading off to his Steelers visit.
  • Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson took a pre-draft visit to meet with the 49ers on Monday, a league source told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. The 49ers have the ninth pick in the first round and Jackson is projected to come off the board as a middle-to-late first-round pick.
  • LSU pass-rusher Arden Key visited the Bears on Monday, Rapoport tweets. He also notes Memphis wide receiver Anthony Miller visited the Redskins on Monday and Tulane cornerback Parry Nickerson visited the Raiders.

Draft Rumors: Guice, Key, Ridley, Panthers

LSU running back Derrius Guice has changed representation, going from the firm that represents rap star Kendrick Lamar to one headed up by Lil Wayne, as Darren Heitner of Forbes Magazine writes. Guice is the latest draft prospect to join Young Money APAA Sports, which also represents Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson. Thanks to a buyout of another firm late last year, the agency also has NFL players Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Lane Johnson, Jason McCourty and Seth Roberts in its stable.

Here’s more NFL Draft news:

  • Speaking of LSU, pass rusher Arden Key will visit with the Titans on Tuesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. At No. 25 overall, the Titans could be in range for the athletic prospect.
  • Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley will visit with the Panthers on Wednesday after the team completes it’s trip to Washington D.C., according to Rapoport. Ridley recently met with the Cowboys and is widely projected to be a first round pick.
  • Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson has Top 30 visits with the Bills, Titans, and Buccaneers this week, Rapoport tweets.
  • Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick is visiting the 49ers this week, per Rapoport.
  • Memphis wide receiver Anthony Miller met with the Panthers on Monday, according to Rapoport.
  • Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan, projected as a first-round pick, will have a dozen official visits to team facilities along with six individual workouts on campus, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. The Buccaneers hosted him on a visit last week, so he could stay in the Sunshine State. Bryan is the 24th best prospect in the draft, according to NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah.
  • The Lions have more pressing needs at running back, pass rusher, and on the interior offensive line, but they could consider safeties early in the draft. The Lions hosted Stanford’s Justin Reid on a top-30 visit last week, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press hears.

Draft Rumors: Mayfield, Jets, Vea, TEs, Bears

A number of NFL insiders anticipate, in the event Sam Darnold is off the board, the Jets will use their No. 3 overall pick on Baker Mayfield, Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com reports. The Jets have already conducted a private workout with the 2017 Heisman Trophy recipient and are scheduled to meet with him next week. And plenty of Mayfield-to-New York buzz has emerged already. They’re among the seven teams that will do so, but Gang Green could have the inside track on Mayfield if the Browns turn to Darnold or Josh Allen. And several league execs and scouts expect the Giants to take Darnold if Allen goes to Cleveland. Pauline adds that if Rosen is on the board and the Jets draft Mayfield, they would be making a “colossal mistake.”

Here’s the latest from a busy Monday in the draft world. A lot of flights are being scheduled for top prospects.

  • Arguably the top linebacker in this draft, Roquan Smith has visits scheduled with the Colts and Bears, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets. Hill adds the Cowboys are not tabbed to meet with the Georgia linebacker. The Colts and Bears hold picks 6 and 8, respectively, and Smith has been mocked to teams either in that range or shortly after.
  • The tight end contingent has begun making key trips recently. Hayden Hurst is visiting the Jaguars on Tuesday, and the Saints have already put the South Carolina pass-catcher through a workout, Nick Underhill of The Advocate tweets. Meanwhile, the Vikings will host South Dakota State’s Dallas Goedert on a visit beginning Tuesday night, per Darren Wolfson of KSTP.com (on Twitter).
  • Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson will visit the Bears and Dolphins, with the Chicago trip coming first, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. An expected first-round pick, Jackson will meet with the Bears today.
  • Three more teams intend to visit with Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea. Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter) the Packers and Buccaneers will host the mammoth lineman. The Cowboys are already scheduled to meet with Vea, and Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal notes Vea will visit the Browns as well. The four-year Huskies cog rates as the top interior defender in the draft, per Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com.
  • The Browns are also meeting with Michigan defensive lineman Maurice Hurst. In line to be a second-generation NFLer, Hurst said during a Sirius XM Radio appearance (via Ulrich) he will meet with the Browns. Hurst was discovered to have a heart condition at the Combine but has since been cleared. The Michigan talent could be an option for the Browns in the second round, with the team holding picks 33 and 35.
  • San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny is meeting with the Broncos today, Mike Klis of 9News reports (on Twitter). Denver has yet to make a decision on C.J. Anderson, who has a nonguaranteed $4.4MM salary this season. Devontae Booker and De’Angelo Henderson represent depth behind Anderson, although Booker frequently saw action upon returning from injury last season.

Draft Notes: Nelson, Jackson, Johnson

We’ve already seen many underclassman opt to enter the 2018 NFL Draft with the January 16 deadline fast approaching. Below are three more high profile players that have made the decision to the jump to professional football:

  • As expected, Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson has thrown his name into the NFL Draft pool. Nelson revealed his decision on Twitter after the team’s victory over LSU on New Year’s Day. The offensive lineman has been touted as one of the best prospects available in April. It’s a little bit unusual for guards to be taken in the top five, but Nelson has certainly has a good chance because of his dominant play for the Fighting Irish. He’s currently rated as the top offensive lineman and fifth best overall prospect by Matt Miller of Bleacher Report.
  • Perhaps the best cornerback prospect has declared for the draft as well. Iowa corner Josh Jackson tweeted his intentions to go pro this morning in which he thanked his coaches, teammates and fans.“Growing up, it has always been my dream to play in the National Football League,” Jackson wrote. “I am excited for this next step and humbled by this great opportunity. I will always bleed Black and Gold.” The junior defensive back was named as an unanimous All-American, received the Big Ten’s Defensive Back of the Year honors and finished as a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award in 2017. He’s currently rated as the top cornerback on Miller’s draft board. He also comes in graded as the second best draft eligible corner, according to Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN.com.
  • Breakout college running back Kerryon Johnson has also entered the 2018 NFL Draft. Auburn’s junior back released his decision in a statement posted on his Twitter page last night. Johnson finished his final collegiate season as the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Year. He totaled 1,391 rushing yards in his junior season, which was significantly more than what he produced in his first two years with the Tigers. He also rushed for 18 touchdowns during what turned out to be his final season with Auburn. Kiper currently ranks Johnson as the seventh best running back available in possibly the deepest positional group in this draft class.