There has been a tone of speculation around the first-round pick of Kareem Jackson by the Houston Texans in the 2009 draft. When Jackson came out for the draft in 2010 his college coach Nick Saban told him he did not think the corner was ready, and should wait one more year before entering the draft.
Saban may have been correct.
With the Texans at the bottom of the barrel in pass protection, Jackson has been taking the majority of the blame for the Texans' poor pass defense over the first three games of the season.
Here is a comparison of how Jackson stacks up against the other rookie corners taken in the first round of the 2010 draft:
Jackson has acquired 16 tackles, three passes defended, and zero interceptions in the first three games of the season.
Florida’s Joe Haden was the first corner taken in the 2010 draft, and was picked up by the Cleveland Browns with the seventh pick. Haden was hailed as the best corner in the draft, and went high as a result.
Haden has acquired eight tackles, two passes defended, and zero interceptions.
That is half the tackles of Kareem Jackson, and one less pass defended.
The next corner taken in the draft after Kareem Jackson was hard-hitting Rutgers corner Devin McCourty. Most NFL scouts had McCourty ranked higher then Jackson on their draft boards. He was taken at No. 27 by the New England Patriots.
McCourty has acquired 14 tackles, one pass defended, and zero interceptions.
That is two fewer tackles than Jackson, as well as two fewer passes defended.
The ball hawking corner from Boise State, Kyle Wilson, was the fourth corner taken in the draft, picked up by the New York Jets at No. 29. At times, Wilson was even higher on scouts' draft boards than Joe Haden. He has seen more time on the field than expected due to the hold out and injury of Jets corner Darrelle Revis.
Wilson has acquired 14 tackles, three passes defended, and zero interceptions.
That gives him two fewer tackles than Jackson, and the same amount of defended passes.
The final corner drafted in the first round, picked at No. 32 by the New Orleans Saints, was Florida State's Patrick Robinson. Robinson has played in all three of the Saints' opening games, and is probably the most underrated corner in this list.
Robinson has acquired five tackles, zero passes defended, and zero interceptions.
It would not be a through comparison if we did not take a look at the productivity of the corner Jackson replaced. Seventh-year veteran Dunta Robinson left the Texans this offseason in search of greener pastures.
He signed with the Atlanta Falcons for around $27 million. He has started each of the three games this season for Atlanta.
Robinson has acquired 12 tackles, two passes defended, and zero interceptions.
This is four fewer tackles then Kareem Jackson, and one less pass defended.
It turns out that rookie Kareem Jackson leads all rookie corners in tackles, and is seventh in that category over all the rookies selected in the 2010 draft.
His numbers appear to be better than any other rookie corner taken in the draft, and are even better than the veteran Dunta Robinson.
What this does not show is how many times he is tested over other corners, and how opposing quarterbacks may not be throwing in the direction of the other corners. It does not show the number of missed tackles or broken coverages.
It is an inaccurate way to judge a corner’s performance.
The only thing this really tells us is how much more on the job training Jackson is getting from opposing teams than the other rookie corners in the league.
Based on this week’s loss to the Cowboys, look for more teams to test and train the rookie corner from Alabama who, supposedly, was the most NFL-ready corner in the draft.