Asa Jackson is one of the more intriguing prospects in the 2012 NFL draft. To start, Jackson attended a small school—California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif. That may be an issue to some extent, but he certainly passes the eye test.
Jackson started every game he played in at Cal Poly—including all 11 games his freshman year—and won virtually all of the defensive back awards offered by the Great West Conference. With a 4.49 in the 40-yard dash, Jackson has solid speed.
Jackson has quick feet and great hips with solid coverage skills, and has the ability to return kicks and seems to always be around the football making plays.
The downfall of Jackson is that he is only 5'10", a couple of inches shorter than an ideal cornerback. In addition, Jackson does not do a great job of shedding blocks, as he is fairly easy to block out in open space. Relatively weak press coverage skill also hurts him, as he lets opposing WRs release without any or much resistance off the line.
So, when examining the 5'10" corner out of Cal Poly, one has to look at whether or not he has the athleticism and speed to compete and be a successful cornerback in the NFL. Or if the fact that he went to a relatively small school and lacks some key physical tools, such as height and strength, will outweigh the strengths.
A smaller, quick corner, Asa Jackson should see time in dime packages for the Ravens in his rookie season, covering opposing slot receivers.
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