Ozzie Newsome selected the Cal Poly product because of his athleticism as a corner. What Newsome probably knew that the rest of the world did not was that this young man is an electric returner.
Jackson’s cornerback skills cannot be ignored; he had eight interceptions for 309 yards and three touchdowns during his college tenure. He is a tough fearless tackler even at his height and weight of 5-foot-11, 188 lbs. Jackson seems to have a nose for the ball; he was always in the right situation as a Mustang and was able to flourish among his peers.
Additionally, Jackson showed off his skill as a returner by averaging 14 yards per punt return in college. He runs a 4.4-40 yard dash, but plays even faster. He showed off his talent as a returner during the 2012 NFL preseason against the Detroit Lions. He managed to return a punt back for a touchdown late in the game, only to have it called back due to a holding penalty.
It did not matter that the play was called back; the Ravens’ coaching staff stood witness to enough blazing speed and agility to consider Jackson for a roster spot.
With Jackson arguably at the bottom of the depth chart at cornerback, it appears the only way he’ll make this roster is as a returner. Jacoby Jones may be used more as a receiver in 2013, pushing Jackson to the front line. One thing is certain about Jackson in either position: once he gets the ball, he’s not just looking for a couple of yards.