2017 Rookie IDP Focus: Adoree’ Jackson

Tom Kislingbury

Adoree’ Jackson finished near the top of cornerback rankings in pretty much any IDP league you played in as a rookie. He’s an elite athlete who should buck normal cornerback variance be a star for years to come, right? I’ll examine how he scored those points and how much we can rely on him to do so again in the future.

Player background

It was obvious from early in his life that Jackson was an exceptional athlete. He played about every position in football in high school and was always a sprinter. That translated into him being a five-star recruit as a college athlete and he went to USC.

At USC, he competed in track and field as well as football and won competitions as a long jumper. He also contributed as a sprinter in relays.

As a football player, he was a full-time starter at corner but really he shone as a three-way player. Offensively in his three seasons, he had 38 catches for 606 receiving yards and six TDs. He also rushed the ball 13 times for 90 yards.

As a returner, his stats were astonishing. He had 75 kick returns for 2,045 yards and four TDs. On punt returns, he managed 45 attempts for 565 yards and four TDs.

His combine numbers were actually not as impressive as you’d hope for. He ran a 4.42 40-yard dash, had a 36” vertical and a 122” broad jump. All of those are good but not blazing. Even so, it was clear that Adoree’ was a top athlete on film. The Tennessee Titans selected him with the 18th overall pick.

Playing time

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Jackson played 1,022 defensive snaps as a rookie. Seven other corners exceeded that number in 2017. Around 15 corners play 1,000 snaps or more every year so although he managed a high number, it’s not something that isn’t very achievable.

It’s worth noting that Mike Vrabel, Romeo Crennel and Dean Pees have between them managed a grand total of two 1,000-plus snap seasons since 2012. They were Jimmy Smith back in 2013 and Brandon Carr in 2017.

We also need to consider special teams play. Jackson lined up for 224 snaps on teams in 2017 – mainly as a returner.


Jackson lined up in coverage 649 times. No player in the NFL did so more than him. The next player on the list was fellow Titan Kevin Byard which shows you how teams chose to attack Tennessee last year.

On those 649 snaps, Jackson was targeted 109 times. That was second in the NFL and trailed only Kyle Fuller (with 119) of the Bears. The other players near the top were Darius Slay, Jalen Mills, James Bradberry and Trae Waynes. All of those players had large numbers of tackles – as you’d expect.

So Jackson was targeted on 16.8% of his coverage snaps. Only including players with significant playing time, that placed him 24th among all corners. Kyle Fuller was targeted on 21% of his snaps. Terrance Mitchell on 21.5%. So although Adoree’ was targeted a lot, it was probably a result of his high playing time and the Titans overall frailties against the pass than the fact he was being deliberately isolated.

Adoree’ did not manage a single interception as a rookie but he did managed a pretty solid 17 passes defended. Only nine corners managed more than that in 2017. The only rookie corners to manage 17 PDs since 2012 are Marcus Peters, Ronald Darby, Marcus Cooper, Marshon Lattimore, Tre’Davious White and Desmond Trufant. That is outstanding company.

The 109 targets against Jackson resulted in 63 receptions. Only Brian Poole and T.J. Carrie allowed more catches. That seems awful but actually it’s a good news story for Jackson. His completion allowed percentage was just 57.8%. Poole’s was 84.4%, and Carrie’s 69.9%. Kareem Jackson was next on the list with 62 catches allowed at 72.1%. Jackson was at the top of the catches allowed list purely because of the volume of passes thrown against the Titans – not because he played badly in coverage, which he emphatically did not.

Tackle production

Jackson managed to record 61 solos (fourth among corners) and nine assists (35th among corners). His 70 total tackles ranked eighth for his position.

He managed to produce a tackle on 6.8% of his snaps, which ranked 36th for corners in 2017. The players around him were Trae Waynes, Jalen Mills, Quandre Diggs, Bobby McCain and team-mate Logan Ryan.

This is a really solid base in terms of sheer volume but we need to consider how much of this is linked to his performance in coverage and the volume of balls thrown at him.

Offensive and special teams usage

In college, Jackson did play a little bit of offense. Given his athleticism, there was plenty of buzz (by which I mean hope from fantasy players) that he would do it in the pros. In fact, I believe a quote or two came out about it being likely.

It actually did happen. Adoree Jackson lined up on offense 12 times in 2017. Twelve. And seven of those were in one game against the Bengals in week ten. In that game, he had three carries for 30 yards (20 of them came on one carry) and zero targets.

He finished the season with five carries for 55 yards, one target (he did not catch it) and an offensive fumble. In standard fantasy formats that works out to 2.5 points. That’s a lot more than most cornerbacks but it doesn’t really affect how I feel about him.

He was a returner too, of course, and a fairly prolific one with 34 punt returns and 25 kick returns. He turned those jointly into 868 yards. Basically, he got an extra 50 return yards per game on top of most of his contemporaries.

Moving forward

There are a few factors at play here so he’s a difficult player to project. It’s clear he will remain a “starting” player but there’s a lot more to it than that.

Firstly, I expect a jump in NFL ability. He showed clear improvement through his rookie year and I suspect that he will open year two as a vastly improved player. This will have an effect on how much he’s targeted and therefore his opportunities to make plays. I noted earlier that he faced a massive volume of targets on 2017. This is almost certain to regress just because of how far from the norm he was.

Secondly, the defensive scheme is changing. Mike Vrabel and Dean Pees are very smart defensive minds who have both shown the ability to use players to their strengths. Jackson is a very different player to Logan Ryan and I suspect we’ll see them being used intelligently. The coaches will try and match them up to speedier and physical WRs respectively. That’s an enormous simplification, but it’s a consideration.

Ultimately, I’ve got Jackson down for 933 snaps in 2018. That’s a pretty high number but down on his rookie season. It’s just rare that players post back-to-back 1,000 snap seasons given injury rates for defensive players.

With those snaps, I expect Jackson to post 46 solo tackles (down from 61), eight assists (down one from nine), 11 PDs (down from 17) and two interceptions (up from zero). All of those numbers are perfectly respectable and he should be very much in the group of corners I’m happy to use. But I do not think he’ll stay right up there at the top end of scoring based on his defensive stats. There are too many things that can happen that will negatively affect the rate of his personal productivity.

Of course, that doesn’t mention his return skills – not only as a special teams player, but also counting his open-field ability after turnovers, where he is undeniably an electric player. I don’t predict that, because the variance is utterly ridiculous, but he’s as likely as anyone to put up a couple of long TD returns. Return scoring is super tough to predict because it can change in an instant. The value of a good corner is so wildly above the value of a return man that coaches will always try and find a returner somewhere else and they’re not hard to come by either. Betting on Jackson to add a lot more production as a returner seems foolish to me and it could easily be greatly reduced.


Jackson impressed me in terms of his ability to actually play corner. I thought he was going to be a good athlete who was a bit of an issue defensively but he was a pretty good player. His owners will think he’s an IDP superstar but really he’s staring at a big potential drop-off for me. I expect him to be in the big group of usable players but the odds of him being a top-five player again are pretty low.

Thanks for reading.


tom kislingbury