Josh Jackson: Draft or Development

Story by Derek Hansen

IOWA CITY, IA¬†– With the departure of Desmond King last season, Hawkeye fans wondered if they would ever see a playmaking talent like King again. Many thought it would be a while before they’d see a defensive back that had the ball skills and coverage as King did. Little did they know, they wouldn’t have to wait long at all.

Enter Josh Jackson

Iowa defensive back Josh Jackson (15) celebrates with teammate Miles Taylor, left, after intercepting a pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against North Texas, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

With a build that is becoming more common in DB’s, Jackson stands at 6’1” and 191 pounds. Although a little slimmer and lighter than King, his presence is just as dominant. With his 8 interceptions this season, which is puts him at no. 1 in all of the FBS, NFL teams are looking at Jackson seriously. How seriously?

In Bleacher Reports latest mock draft (Dec. 27th, 2017), Jackson is the 16th overall pick to the Los Angeles Chargers. Draft experts Todd McShay and Mel Kiper also have Jackson going in the first round. These predictions are pretty similar to King’s following his junior season. What should Jackson do?

Well, there is no wrong answer to that question. All scenarios, in my opinion, are positive.

Draft Scenario

If the predictions become reality, Jackson goes first round. With the Chargers prediction, he’d be reunited with who other than the man himself, Desmond King. Some sources have him going to the Seahawks, which is logical due to the aging Richard Sherman and their aging secondary.

As stated earlier, his build is an unusual type that is becoming more and more present in the NFL: lean and defined. Jackson’s body type reminds NFL scouts of Xavier Rhodes, who is has a position rank of 13 (Pro Football Focus) and has been elected to the 2017 Pro-Bowl.

No doubt, it will take Jackson to get used to the physicality and speed of the NFL. It will be a learning curve, as it is for every rookie. However, Iowa has always made some reliable pros, which could mean the learning curve could be shorter for Jackson than it is for others.

Overall, I see him having a pretty productive career. DBs seem to have a respectable tenure in the league, and Jackson should have a lengthy career. We also have to remember, Jackson was recruited as a 2-star WR.

Development Scenarios

Is there any regret in King’s mind for staying for his senior year? No one will ever know except King, but I feel there is no regret. Although he didn’t have a year like he did when he was junior, he made his presence felt. How? Well, when opposing QB’s stop throwing your way, you know you must be doing something right.

Not only that, he had one more year to prove his worth. His stats didn’t jump out at you like they did his junior year, but he had one more year to improve his craft. That improvement has lead him to being a key part in the LA Chargers secondary, which is in the top 10 of the NFL.

Sure, King didn’t get drafted in the first round like he was predicted if he would’ve left after his junior year. However, he is proving his worth and is becoming a diamond in the rough for LA. Could Jackson do the same? Absolutely.

Jackson would greatly benefit from one more year at Iowa. One more year to master his craft and one more year to grow under Kirk Ferentz. Not only that, he would get his diploma, which is a huge accomplishment for any student athlete, especially for one at Jackson’s caliber.

If he were to stay, Iowa’s defense will be scary. Yes, even scary without Josey ‘The Outlaw’ Jewell. He would also be a huge mentor for the young guys, as King was to Jackson.

The Conclusion

There really is no wrong way to go for Jackson. He has poured so much into this program. Hawkeye fans should be forever proud of this young man. That being said, we wish him the best for whatever he choses. Whether that be a first round pick or to build his Hawkeye legacy, Jackson will have our support.

If he choses to head to the draft, there is one thing to be said on behalf of all Hawkeye fans: Thank you Josh Jackson, for being one heck of a Hawkeye.

If he choses to stay for one more year, there is a lot of things to be said on behalf of all Hawkeye fans. However, we could say it in four words: Thank you, Josh Jackson.

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