Former Iowa football star Josh Jackson’s rookie season wasn’t quite as expected, there were some fantastic bright spots for him to build off in Green Bay.
Josh Jackson came to the Iowa football team as a part of the 2014 recruiting class. He redshirted his freshman year due to the talent the Hawks already had on the team, but Jackson knew he would have his chance.
Jackson saw his first action in 2015 and participated in all 14 games, but he recorded just eight tackles and a couple of pass break-ups.
In 2016, Jackson got a little more playing time as he played in 12 games and had 1 start at cornerback. He recorded 10 total tackles, a single tackle for loss and 4 pass break-ups. His best game in 2016 was in the Outback bowl where Jackson had a career-best three solo tackles and one tackle for loss.
2017 was Jacksons junior season where he started all 13 games for the Hawks, and it was by far a season to remember for any Iowa football fan or player. Jackson finished the season with 48 tackles and he added 8 interceptions and 2 pick-sixes, 18 pass break-ups, a forced fumble, and a blocked field goal.
Jacksons biggest highlights of his career at Iowa were his three interceptions against Ohio State where the Iowa football team went on to destroy the Buckeyes 55-24 in thrilling fashion. His second biggest highlight was when he recorded two pick-sixes in the same game, which was at Wisconsin, unfortunately, those were Iowas only points that game which resulted in a lopsided defeat.
As a result of his fantastic junior year, he collected numerous awards including being named unanimous First Team All-American, winning the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year award, and winning the Jack Tatum Award. He was also named First Team All-Big Ten and was a finalist for the 2017 Jim Thorpe Award.
Following Jackson’s astonishing final year as an Iowa football player, he was selected by the Green Bay Packers with the 45th overall selection. His rookie season in Green Bay was up and down, to say the least.
He started 10 of 16 games and would finish the season with 49 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 10 pass breakups. He also scored a special teams touchdown when he recovered a blocked punt in the end zone in week two.
There were also some downs though. Jackson led the team in total penalties (8) and penalty yards (75). His technique struggled at times, and that played a huge role.
At Iowa, Jackson was known for his ball skills, but there were concerns about his hip fluidity and it showed. Jackson struggled against elite wide receivers and, too often, was beat on routes covering quick and shifty wide receivers. He also struggled to make tackles in the open field which makes him a liability in the run game.
The athleticism is there, but he has got a lot of work to do.
Green Bay coaches have considered moving him to free safety, but they wanted to give him a shot at cornerback and see if he could adjust.
This next season will be crucial for Jackson to prove he has refined his technique, improved his tackling, and is ready to compete with the big boys.