Josh Jackson’s Time With Packers Is Coming to an End

The Josh Jackson experiment is just about over. 

The Josh Jackson experiment is coming to an end. With Kevin King back on a one-year rental, King is the presumed starter opposite of Jaire Alexander. There’s also the expectation that the team will use one or even two picks on a corner in the upcoming draft. This ultimately points toward 2021 being Jackson’s last year with the Green Bay Packers.
 
If you were told a former second-round pick would play more as a rookie than he would during his second and third seasons combined, you would probably have a surprised reaction. Well, that has been the case for Jackson, who played more defensive snaps in 2018 than he did the last two seasons. It’s even more telling how the Packers feel about Jackson after he’s been relatively healthy through most of his NFL career.
 
Nowadays, the only way Jackson can get on the field is under the unfortunate circumstance of a starter getting injured. After all, that is how he got on the field in 2018 when King played in just six games. It’s also how he started five games in 2020.
 
As a rookie, Jackson played in all 16 games and started 10. It was an up and down year for Jackson, who only had one good year at corner in college and was considered a developmental prospect. He was tested at different positions his first season, which helped him get on the field more, but didn’t necessarily help him improve as an NFL corner.
 
Jackson didn’t get to showcase the ball skills he did at Iowa as an off-ball zone corner after leading the nation with eight interceptions. Instead, Green Bay tried him out at different spots that resulted in a lesser impact. As a result, Jackson finished with zero interceptions in year one, but he was second on the team with 10 pass deflections.
 
Jackson’s numbers haven’t even come close to that of his rookie year, mostly because he’s struggled to get on the field. His snap count fell from 718 in 2018 to 103 in 2019 as he was mostly utilized on special teams. If he did get on the field for defense, he was subjected to garbage time minutes only if the team had a big enough lead.
 
Sometimes things click for young players in years two or three. Jackson didn’t have much of a chance in year two, so 2020 was a big year for him. However, he was still buried on the depth chart behind King, who was coming off his best season as a pro. The Packers never sub out corners unless there are injuries, so, once again, Jackson was reserved for special teams.
 
He finally got on the field when King dealt with a quad injury. Jackson was solid in the five starts he saw last season, but it wasn’t enough to keep King sidelined once he returned to full health.
 
Things took a turn for the worst when Jackson was a healthy scratch by the end of the year. Not only was he not good enough to play reps on defense, but he was viewed as a detriment to one of the league’s worst special teams’ units.
 
Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Jackson is no longer a lock to make the final roster. Barring any unforeseen changes, Jackson will have to make an Everest-like ascent to remain a Packer this year and for years to come.  
 

 

 

Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

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Comments (51)

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Coldworld's picture

April 02, 2021 at 12:10 pm

True, unless Barry wants him in his new D, a very good chance he is a camp casualty. It’s not impossible he could be out after the draft if Barry isn’t interested in him.

Also against him is the team having previously concluded he can’t play inside. Small cap saving and, at this stage of his contract, a newer pick up may offer more upside despite rawness but without the apparent issues picking things up, including ST.

Potentially one could make the same argument with Hollman as well. The DB room is likely to see a big influx.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 02, 2021 at 12:30 pm

Experiment? More like a high school team keeping a mascot. The guy had his chance to prove something last season and came up empty. Hollman showed more in his few snaps on the outside than Jackson. He could not make the game day roster even as a SP teamer. Five games Inactive tells his story. The front office has to hit on Two CBs in this draft and have an open competition in camp to find the #2 and slot guy that can make plays. Sullivan should only be played as a dime guy.

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Coldworld's picture

April 02, 2021 at 12:49 pm

Hollman also couldn’t make the active list despite being healthy at the end of the season though. He may not be in a much better position. Just adds to the potential need.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 02, 2021 at 01:23 pm

These guys may not have the mental acumen to play the Pro Game. Hollman has speed and looked OK at Toledo, but cannot get on the field. Maybe three CBs are pulled in from this draft?

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Coldworld's picture

April 02, 2021 at 06:42 pm

I would not be shocked if that happened

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Thegravedigger's picture

April 03, 2021 at 11:23 am

I would love that. And i dont even think king has the mentals either. Hes just a great athlete. If he was mentally up to par, he wouldnt of lost scotty miller completely on the biggest fuckup by a packer since... I cant even remember when. Honestly.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 02, 2021 at 05:19 pm

It looks like Holman was a healthy scratch for week 14 as he was not on the injury report. He was inactive week 11 but was on the injury report. He was active weeks 15 to 17 and then not for the playoffs. Not that unusual as the Packers played more starters on STs, but certainly not a ringing endorsement either.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 03, 2021 at 09:11 am

We usually have a CB inactive. If somebody is injured, it’s them. If they’re all healthy, somebody is a healthy scratch. Having a healthy CB inactive is a good thing.

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Coldworld's picture

April 03, 2021 at 09:57 am

They brought up PS squad CBs and activated them. That really doesn’t explain this. Especially as we were starting a less than 109 percent DB2 and those active had not, or barely, played defensive snaps.

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dobber's picture

April 03, 2021 at 10:21 am

The Packers seem to like using their S as that 4th CB (Redmond, in particular). They don't seem to like their CB depth enough to use those guys.

In terms of snaps, once you get past Sullivan, the dropoff is significant in CB snaps (to Jackson) and Jackson really only played defensive snaps when King was hurt. We'll see how Barry wants to use his DBs.

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Oppy's picture

April 03, 2021 at 12:10 pm

Dobber makes a great observation here.

Could be that if a 4th CB was going to be on the field, Pettine wanted to make sure it was a Safety to ensure he was limiting the knock on run support compared to fielding a CB.

If that's the case, it might not be an indictment of the depth of the CB room that these guys weren't getting field time unless there was an injury, but a philosophical approach that there's only 3 roles to be filled by CB's on the field.

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dobber's picture

April 03, 2021 at 12:20 pm

Yours might well be the better interpretation.

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Coldworld's picture

April 03, 2021 at 05:26 pm

Redmond was a good college nickel back. He was a CB when we picked him up. Converted him later. It makes sense given he got played everywhere behind the true ILB I suppose, but not sure it helped Redmond or says a lot for any other DB depth behind the top 3.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 03, 2021 at 10:59 am

True, Coldworld. I don’t have an explanation for that. Maybe there was something wrong with Jackson. Maybe he’d said or done something to piss off Pettine. Maybe the guys who had been on the PS all year were suddenly considered better alternatives. I don’t know.

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Stroh's picture

April 03, 2021 at 12:26 am

Hollman wasn't a high pick tho! 6th rd picks aren't expected to even become starters. You might hope they can become contributors in some way. 2nd rd picks are quite different and are usually Given every opportunity and generally have to play themselves out of it. Jackson has done exactly that... REPEATEDLY. Hollman hasn't gotten nearly the opportunities Jackson has been given!

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flackcatcher's picture

April 03, 2021 at 04:22 pm

The active roster was very different in the last third of the season. More DL and LB. ST was a major decision point for the coaches. The Packers gambled that both of their starting CB would stay on the field. Just part of the game within the game.

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CoachDino's picture

April 02, 2021 at 01:49 pm

Agreed on Jackson and Sullivan, weird too as the packers played more zone and that was Jacksons strong suit and still nada. Plus Jackson played OK when King was out yet they still scratched him, makes sense as he's not a ST players but who was the Backup at Corner? His coaches must have zero faith in him.

Like everything draft it depends on the board but I'd love to see the Packers take at least 3 DBs with at least 2 of them being both inside and outside capable. Tough to hit on corners as a whole and the Packers seem no better than the rest of the league so volume might be the best bet to land 1 starter either to replace King or Sullivan this year or next.

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pack69go's picture

April 03, 2021 at 01:41 pm

Sorry but Jackson was drafted by BG in the second round of the 2018 draft after Alexander was drafted in the first round, and not that Hollman is great but he was signed as a rookie free agent.

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Coldworld's picture

April 03, 2021 at 05:32 pm

Hollman was a sixth rounder. I liked his potential, but he seemed to fall out of favor last year despite a lack of alternatives.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 02, 2021 at 12:30 pm

Jackson started 5 games last year. He’s under contract. You can never have too many experienced D backs. He’ll make the 53 man roster.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 02, 2021 at 01:28 pm

The only reason he started was because the cupboard was empty at the time and Savage played on top of him all day long. He was Inactive the last part of the year, including the playoffs. He could not even get on the sp teams. Not a vote of confidence. Gutedkunst has to own his mistake and move on. His salary can go to a player that deserves a spot.

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CoachDino's picture

April 02, 2021 at 01:52 pm

I'd normally agree with you but a healthy scratch that doesn't play special teams? He has his work cut out for him to make this squad, even more so if they draft 2 or 3 corners.

Maybe trade bait for the ole change of scenery exchange with another squad.

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GatorJason's picture

April 02, 2021 at 12:49 pm

It is my understanding that the Joe Barry defense would use more zone concepts. If true, Josh Jackson may finally flourish. He was a poor fit in the pressure man defense employed under Mike Pettine. He lacks athletic skills to man up. Jackson was an All American at Iowa State as a zone defender. Dominant actually. This is where the TT draft team evaluating players failed to take into consideration how Jackson's talents translated into a fit with the defensive schemes. If Josh still has any of those skills and instincts left after languishing in the Packers' man-defensive, he may find new life under Joe Barry.

IRT the one-year signing of Kevin King, that was just a bridge contract to give the 2021 drafted CBs an opportunity to develop and earn the starting position. King himself is a really good CB when healthy. The problem was he was rarely healthy, even when he played. Apparently King at 70% was still better and more reliable than a bunch of others at 100%. I'm not sure if that's a compliment to King's overall talent or a condemnation of the half dozen guys behind him on the roster.

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Archie's picture

April 02, 2021 at 03:11 pm

Bingo!

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murf7777's picture

April 03, 2021 at 08:51 am

Jackson played for Iowa not Iowa State. It will be interesting to see what Barry thinks of him, wouldn’t be the first time a fourth year player has a breakout year. Long odds thou.

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Lare's picture

April 02, 2021 at 12:45 pm

Josh Jackson needs to cut down on his penalties, he's a liability on the field.

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stockholder's picture

April 02, 2021 at 01:09 pm

The cart is getting ahead of the horse here. We have a new DC. Gute drafted him. He will keep him till the end of his contract. I get you want Gute to take a cb. But lets not take down the whole defense for 1 position.

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PF4L's picture

April 02, 2021 at 01:22 pm

Yea Baby!!

That's what i admire about the Packers, they like to keep bad players, bad picks they drafted, on the roster as long as they can.

:)

Exception: J'Mon Moore must have been really, really, really bad. Or he pissed someone off, and good.

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jannes bjornson's picture

April 02, 2021 at 01:30 pm

"we like our scrubs"

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PeteK's picture

April 02, 2021 at 04:01 pm

That's why we put up with PF Flyer. hahahaha

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stockholder's picture

April 02, 2021 at 01:32 pm

Moore should have never been drafted.

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Coldworld's picture

April 03, 2021 at 08:04 am

Odd that no one seems to have held that opinion at the time. One can argue about whether he was a 4th rounder, but the consensus was that he was a high upside pick who, despite lacking an elite RAS, had elite foot speed redolent of one D. Adams.

So I’m calling that comment. He was universally expected to be drafted. Those that don’t believe, go look, it’s out there.

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PF4L's picture

April 03, 2021 at 01:04 pm

Some think Love has a high upside also.

I'ts a crazy crazy world my friend.

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CoachDino's picture

April 02, 2021 at 02:08 pm

Couple things just to take into consideration.
Josh Jackson was high on draft boards, just like many of the guys you see this year shooting up the list due to 1 good year and traits. He would of been drafted shortly after the Packers pick according to the Big Boards of that time.

I agree there's always a tendency to give your own draft picks the benefit over UDFAs but there are usually reasons why one guys is a UDFA and the other was drafted Skill, production, traits, etc...

Most draft picks don't become starters but if a decent backup and a ST contributor than why cut them?

It's why Burks and Summers have stuck so long. JJ problem is he isn't a ST contributor.

I'm trying to think of guys drafted 1-4 rds that weren't starters, injury issues or developmental and stayed on the 53 w/o being at least a ST contributor.

Any thoughts?

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Coldworld's picture

April 03, 2021 at 08:14 am

Very few unless on a lower contract after FA, just doesn’t work with the wage bill and need for ST players. It’s a problem for ESB too. You have to be able to contribute to be active and that’s how you are most likely to earn snaps initially, unless you are clearly the best healthy payer available.

If an unhealthy, hobbled Starter is better than you, I think it’s safe to say that you would need to be a ST demon to get on the active list. If you can’t at that point, you may not be back.

In the last year of a contract, a team has to wonder if, when not good enough to be active previously, the investment isn’t better used elsewhere. Historically, such players have more often been let go. The draft could decide whether he makes it to camp.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 03, 2021 at 09:14 am

Josh Jackson has been an average Day Two pick. Compare his AV to other Day Two guys and you’ll see.

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Leatherhead's picture

April 03, 2021 at 09:26 am

Josh Jackson has been an average Day Two pick. Compare his AV to other Day Two guys and you’ll see. About 42 of the 64+ guys taken in the 2nd and 3rd rounds have higher career AV, and that puts him in the fat part of the bell curve for Day Two picks.

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PF4L's picture

April 02, 2021 at 01:18 pm

NOOOO!!
Say it isn't so!!!

Give the guy a break people. he's a 2nd round pick, who's about to make that 4th year leap, or 6th year leap, or.....

:)

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hobowilly's picture

April 02, 2021 at 03:05 pm

Folks, i have a diff prospective and that being from the coaching standpoint. I believe coach Gray is one of the better DB coaches in the NFL. further, MLF has shown he can be very successful getting quite a bit out of his players. But, it's up to him in co-ordination with his team of coaches (that now include the newcomer, show me you can do better,Barry) to access GB's needs in the draft (with good/accurate help from Gutey, who is doing well overall-better than his predecessor) AND create competition to see who can play @ the NFL level. I do believe too, that Gutey looks not to be that GM that is going to give a player 3 or 4 years to develop as much as TT typically did.
It's interesting though that players such as J Jackson and O Burks are still around, for they both can't seem to get much playing time @ their respective positions.
I would respectfully remind the great, great fan base of the Packers to be patient and realize, drafting "starters" or CM3 types come only rather infrequently. Gutey moving around to secure Alexander and then Savage the following year were examples of stellar moves made. IMHO, we haven't seen the full potential of players such as Savage, Dillon or Deguara yet, and, for that matter Gary (which too many fans cried about to excess). Saying it another way, players drafted in the first round are by no means sure picks to play and/or start in their rookie years. That's the idea, but more players than not don't see the field. Faithful as to the whole picture!

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NorCalPacker685's picture

April 02, 2021 at 03:19 pm

He can’t possibly be worse than Will Redmond, who they just inexplicably brought back. There’s a MASSIVE drop off from the top 5-6 defensive players from the rest, and why this defense will continue to be mediocre at best. All I can say is I’m so discouraged with what has happened this offseason. I pray that I’m proven so wrong and everyone calls me out for this... but man I’ve never been so disappointed during an offseason

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Coldworld's picture

April 02, 2021 at 05:24 pm

Redmond got on the field and played multiple positions as a back up (probably to his detriment) and led special teams stats.

Jackson has found no position, can’t make a depleted special teams and can’t even crack the active list with a hobbled starter.

Yes, Jackson has been a lot less use to the Packers than Redmond by any possible metric.

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frankthefork's picture

April 02, 2021 at 03:42 pm

Good Brandon, changes and the end are inevitable. Jackson is fine on Specials but not a good corner or starter. Might try him at Safety, but Redmond signed today and this years draft is loaded with Sterns, Stevens, St Juste, Bynum, Deablo, or Taylor in the 4-5th rounds who all look better as CB's or S.
Last years Samuels, Ento, Sullivan and S Scott are ready to take the next step also.

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Coldworld's picture

April 02, 2021 at 05:29 pm

Jackson is unable to play ST after 3 seasons. He is far from fine there. That may give us an indication of the root problem. STs are usually seen as the easy part to learn.

You may be thinking of Burks. Equally if not even more unproductive on D, but does play ST regularly and quite effectively.

Both are on the 90, I think i the odds are neither are here in September without a colossal off season.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

April 02, 2021 at 05:27 pm

I'd like to see Josh in the preseason version of Barry's defense. If he still looks miscast then maybe it is time to move on. But, one of the guys below him needs to push him out. We didn't get a preseason last year, but I haven't seen someone below him push for that 4th CB spot behind Jaire, King or Sulivan (who is now resigned).

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 02, 2021 at 05:43 pm

Josh Jackson was not solid when he did play. 113 passer rating allowed. He wasn't the worst I've seen, I suppose.

He's a 2nd round draft pick. Another TC can't hurt. Maybe he can play for Barry.

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MITM's picture

April 02, 2021 at 05:47 pm

thanks for nothin Josh

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Oppy's picture

April 02, 2021 at 10:28 pm

I was rooting for him.
He just never looked like he believed he could play with the pros.

Best of of luck in his future endeavors.

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Stroh's picture

April 03, 2021 at 12:15 am

Jackson's ball skills were always considerably overblown. He had 5 INTs and 2 TDs gifted to him by TJ Barrett and Hornibrook. Take away those gifts and he suddenly doesn't look as good.

I've been pointing that out along with his other deficiencies since he was drafted. Too bad people don't pay attention!

Jackson was always in overblown his head!

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NoNonsense's picture

April 03, 2021 at 12:23 am

Hope there aren't any DBs named Josh in this draft or at least I hope Gute avoids them if there are. Josh Jones and now Josh Jackson, what a shame.

Seriously though, even before adding anyone from the draft I am looking forward to see who might rise from the ashes of last season in that DB room.

From King and Sulivan to Holman, Jackson, Ento and Samuels. I hope to see improvement down the line from this group with Gray commanding that room a 2nd consecutive year.

Should GB get a shiny new CB or two from the draft great, I just wanna see improvement from this CB group this season.

A semi normal off-season, OTAs, TC and preseason should help I would think. Hopefully that is the case

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

April 03, 2021 at 10:59 am

Brandon, you aren't really going out on a ledge with a headline that reads "Josh Jackson’s Time With Packers Is Coming to an End"
For a cornerback he lacks elite speed which makes it tougher to play on the edge. He has had a hard time keeping his hands off wide receivers and gets too many holding penalties. He has had three years to prove he is a starter after being a 2nd round draft choice and yet in his third year we found him inactive playing behind undrafted free agents. As I said it's not much of a stretch to say his time with the Packers is coming to an end.

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flackcatcher's picture

April 03, 2021 at 04:53 pm

The Packers will be drafting CB/SS. With the NFL being a pass first league, keeping a minimum of 5 CB/slot is in every teams starting/core defensive package. With that many, talent drop off from the starters is a problem league wide. Along with the usual of age and injury, it's a real problem in keeping a secondary group upright and intact. In 2017 the Packers lost their entire starting secondary in the Vikings game, (the Rodgers collar bone injury game) along with most of their core backups. Gutekunst had to rebuild the entire secondary from the ground up. So while keeping a player like Jackson may make no sense to us fans. As GM, Gute is well aware of how fragile that position group is. I wouldn't count Jackson out yet.

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