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Mock Draft Spotlight: CB Kareem Jackson


PLEASE NOTE:The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

* has Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson going to the Ravens at No. 25. Here's a little more information about Jackson just in case it's right.
When Alabama cornerback Kareem Jackson got the letter from the NFL Advisory Committee saying where he was expected to be drafted, he gave the unopened envelope to coach Nick Saban to hold onto until after the BCS National Championship.

That way he wouldn't be distracted by the bright lights of the NFL before he took care of business.

After Alabama won the title, Jackson opened his letter to find that the committee tabbed him as a second-round pick.

However, those intangibles, along with a solid game tape, have Jackson's stock rising to the point where he's a possibility for the cornerback-needy Ravens at No. 25.

"We're hopeful to get at least one corner in the draft and you never know, it could be more," Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

Most mock drafts see Jackson among a group of three or four cornerbacks that could be taken in the late first round. He's competing with Boise State's Kyle Wilson, Rutgers' Devin McCourty, Florida State's Patrick Robinson and perhaps Virginia's Chris Cook for top rights in the pecking order.

ESPN's Todd McShay has called Jackson the most underrated player in the draft and even believes he could vie for the top cornerback spot.

"I'm a huge Kareem Jackson fan," McShay said. "But I know most people think [Florida's] Joe Haden is better. I'm not sure there's that big of a difference."

Despite leaving Alabama after his junior season, Jackson is seen as one of the more polished corners in the draft, which could make him more alluring to the Ravens considering Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb may miss time at the start of the year.

Jackson, a three-year college starter, has good route recognition, is stout against the run and is physical in press coverage, which could help him adapt to the NFL quicker.

"I want to get better at everything I do; as far as my game, as far as my technique," Jackson said. "But I think my physicality will help me a whole lot, at the line of scrimmage."

Some pundits, however, have questioned Jackson's top-notch speed and ability to hang with NFL wideouts. It would seem that Jackson answered those questions at the Combine, where he ran a 4.48 40-yard dash, the fifth-fastest at his position and same time as McCourty.

Ravens Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison attended Alabama's pro day, where he saw Jackson and fellow Crimson Tide cornerback Javier Arenas. He said they are, "two outstanding defensive backs."

Then again, there were some other cornerbacks that caught Mattison's attention as well.

"McCourty is a guy we've watched a lot on film – outstanding player," Mattison said. "Joe Haden, Earl Thomas, Major Wright. There's a great abundance of defensive backs that have Raven temperaments and would help our football team."

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