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Jackson Has Flown Under-the-Radar | NFL Draft


Written By Adam Aniba


Every draft features a high ceiling prospect that took a hit on their draft stock, based on a 2023 injury.


Although Oregon cornerback Khyree Jackson dealt with a shoulder injury late in '23, he is a go for training camp. The word is his medicals checked out and did participate in Senior Bowl practices.


“I felt like I did decent,” Jackson said. “I felt a little rusty. It’s been a little minute since I’ve been actually in pads. I showcased what I needed to when it came to the one-on-ones".


Khyree Jackson

6'4" 194 lbs | CB | ORE

Draft Proj Late 3rd Rd

ALA Stats (13 games)- 14 tackles (11 solo), 1.0 TFLs & 2 PD

'23 Stats (12 games)-  34 tackles (25 solo), 5.0 TFLs, 2.0 sacks, 3 INTs & 7 PD


Background

Jackson grew up in Upper Malboro, MD and lined up at WR for Dr. Henry Wise High School. Jackson finished his senior season with 39 receptions for 612 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns.


The Henry Wise receiver helped lead his team to an undefeated 14-0 season as a senior and took home the MPSSAA 4A State Title. Jackson was giving a 4-star rating by ESPN.

Despite his 4-star ranking and attention during the college recruiting process, Jackson was forced to take the JUCO route due to academic issues and ultimately enrolled at Fort Community College for the 2019 season.


Jackson had a productive season after being moved to cornerback and recorded 25 tackles and 3 interceptions.


Jackson's play in '19 drew the attention of Alabama among other Power 5 schools and the converted receiver ultimately committed to play for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.


Over the next two seasons with Alabama, Jackson would play in 19 games primarily in a special teams role.


The defenisve back recorded 14 total tackles and was named special teams player of the week twice ('21 vs Georgia & '22 vs Auburn). Jackson did have one start with 2 pass breakups.

Jackson was simply stuck in a numbers game at Alabama and opted to transfer to Oregon for the 2023 season. The decision proved to be a career changer for Jackson.


In 2023 Jackson was active in 12 games, registering 26 tackles, 6 QB pressures, 2 sacks, 7 pass breakups and 3 interceptions. Jackson was named to the All-Pac-12 1st Team by the AP and coaches.


PROS

  • Thrives when anticipating & defending 50/50 jump balls

  • Physical playing style with length (32 3/4" arms) aiding him in man/zone coverage

  • Displayed he can be an effective blitzer

  • High football IQ helps him with situational ball and to quickly diagnose run/pass

  • Aggressive tackler who seeks out contact

CONS

  • Lack of starting experience/games played prior to '23 is a concern

  • Overall technique requires refinement

  • Can get grabby if out of position in coverage

  • Overall speed/quickness is sufficient, but needs to play with more suddenness

  • Hesitates when has to flip his hips in transition, which occasionally leads to struggles in coverage at times


Outlook

Jackson dislocated his shoulder and tore his labrum in vs Washington (12/1/23) and later re-aggravated the injury vs USC (11/11/23). Teams will certainly do their due diligence, but he showed little rust during the Senior Bowl and still looked explosive.


Something else to keep in mind with Jackson is that eventually moving to safety could be a consideration, if he struggles at covering NFL receivers 1-one-1. There is no doubt that he has the range to thrive in a single-high role if need be.


Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy believed if Jackson stayed at Alabama, he'd be much higher rated heading into the NFL Draft.


"Had he stayed in he would have been a fringe guy for us last year because you’re talking about a 6-3 plus corner that’s going to run 4.3, has all those tools. There was people in the building up there in Tuscaloosa over the last couple of years that thought he was the most talented DB in that room, which is saying a lot."


Jackson may lack starting experience, but boasts elite size and length for the position. Some questioned Jackson for transferring, but after a career season in 2023, the best is yet to come from the former JUCO star.


*GAMES WATCHED*

9/9/23 vs Texas Tech, 9/16 vs Hawaii, 10/28 vs Utah, 11/11 vs USC, 11/24 vs Oregon St. & 12/1 vs Wash


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