IOWA CITY, Ia. — The reputed scouting website Pro Football Focus released its first 2018 mock NFL Draft Tuesday morning, and the Iowa Hawkeyes have a first-round prospect.
Cornerback Josh Jackson.
PFF pegs Jackson as the 24th overall pick to the Atlanta Falcons:
"A breakout 2017 season has put Jackson on the radar and even with their cornerbacks locked up for the next few years, his length and ball skills may be too much to pass up for Atlanta," PFF's Steve Palazzolo wrote. "Jackson’s 14 pass breakups lead the nation and he’s now gotten his hands on 23 passes on only 104 career targets. Jackson is a good fit for Atlanta’s system and you can never have too many good cornerbacks in today’s NFL."
The cornerback talks about his special game in what has been an amazing season Mark Emmert / The Register
Jackson is the fourth defensive back drafted in PFF's initial mock — behind Florida State safety Derwin James (second overall to the San Francisco 49ers), Alabama corner Minkah Fitzpatrick (17th to the Washington Redskins) and Colorado corner Isaiah Oliver (22nd to the Cleveland Browns).
Iowa's 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior corner logged a career-high four pass breakups in the Hawkeyes' 17-10 win against Minnesota last Saturday. In addition to his 15 PBUs (according to Iowa's official stats), Jackson has 33 tackles, two interceptions and a blocked kick.
"When he’s tuned in and ready to go, he’s a nightmare matchup for the opposing offense," Iowa safety Jake Gervase said Saturday of Jackson. "He makes my job easier, just having that trust that he’s going to do his job, whether he’s manned up, whether we’re playing Cover 2, just knowing that he’s going to jam and sync."
Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.