I’m Here for the Chris Jackson Redemption Story

Based on what we're seeing in training camp and the preseason so far, Chris Jackson appears poised for a bounce-back season.

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The Tennessee Titans drafted Chris Jackson in the 7th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. At the time, it was at least somewhat of a surprise – some analysts didn’t even have a ‘draft-able’ grade on Jackson, and others were scrambling to come up with some sort of scouting report, but it’s obvious that the Titans saw potential in the guy. He was a product of the Marshall Thundering Herd program, where he was voted 1st Team All-Conference-USA in 2019. His versatility was lauded, and you always need defensive backs in the NFL. Right away, it seemed like the vision for Jackson was ‘developmental DB that can play safety or corner when we need him to.’

But, Jackson wasn’t granted a whole hell of a lot of time to develop. The injury bug bit the Titans hard in the secondary, and the result was Jackson being thrust into action right away – Week 1 against the Denver Broncos and Week 2 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was a real trial by fire. All in all, Jackson played in eight games in 2020, with a stat line that reads 24 tackles, 1 stuff, and 1 pass defensed. At times, he looked completely turned around and in over his head. He finished the season with a 32.5 grade per PFF, which is among the worst cornerbacks in the league in 2020 (I swear if I see one more person cite Jackson’s PFF grade, I’m going to lose it). But, we all know PFF isn’t the be all end all of football evaluations. I also think he showed more promise and potential than he was given credit for. He had flashes of good play that made you see the vision of having a guy like him in a depth role. And, I think we lose sight of the fact that he was a project 7th round pick because he was playing in a prominent role early on.

But now, he’s turning heads in camp. The Titans are in no rush to get Caleb Farley on the field, so the thinking is that Jackrabbit Jenkins and Kristian Fulton will be the Week 1 starters on the outside. Jackson has played well enough in camp that he’s shown he’s capable of sliding in and starting at the slot. He’s added some muscle, bulked up, and had a full offseason to continue to grow as a player, and it appears it’s paying dividends for him.

Just as a fan, I think this dude got the shaft in 2020. But, he’s made the most of his 2021 offseason. Mainly, I just want people to stop saying Jackson is terrible because of that PFF grade…but maybe the topic of PFF grades is a different discussion for a different day…and keep in mind that 7th round picks that come into the league and light it up right away are few and far between. Expectations, people. Some folks are going to call me crazy for this, but the fact that Jon Robinson took a 7th round draft pick, got eight games out of him his rookie season without the guy totally shitting the bed, and now he could grow into an important role on the team speaks to Robinson’s prowess as a talent evaluator. Maybe I’m overreacting to a strong training camp, and I’m unapologetically looking at this situation with my two-tone tinted glasses on, but I’m absolutely here for the Chris Jackson comeback tour.

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Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network, and a Dogs Playing Poker on velvet connoisseur. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD, #BeBetter, and ‘Minds right, asses tight.’ “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Nashville, Yankee Candle, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley

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