Packers Prospect: Tanard Jackson

Tanard Jackson runs the 40 last Tuesday.

Green Bay Packers college scouts are out and about this spring attending Pro Days and individual workouts of college athletes across the country in preparation for the upcoming NFL draft. One player that the Packers zeroed in on last week is Syracuse cornerback Tanard Jackson. Read more on what Jackson, who is likely to be selected on the first day of the draft, has to offer the Packers.

Though the 6-foot-0, 195-pound Tanard Jackson played cornerback all four seasons at Syracuse, some scouts are looking at him as a possible safety. With his size and speed, Jackson has the ability to play both positions, which improves his value, especially with the Packers, who are in need of depth at both the cornerback and safety positions.

During his workout last Tuesday on FieldTurf in the Carrier Dome, Jackson improved his 40-yard dash time and vertical leap from the numbers that he had at the NFL Combine in February in Indianapolis. He had a vertical leap of 34 ½ inches, 2 inches more than he jumped in Indy, and ran the 40 in 4.47 seconds, bettering his 4.52 mark at the Combine, according to The Post-Standard in Syracuse.

At least three NFL defensive back coaches were in the Carrier Dome to work out Jackson - Mike Gillhamer of the Carolina Panthers, Mark Carrier of the Baltimore Ravens and a coach from the Cleveland Browns, according to the Post-Standard. Chicago director of college scouting Doug Gabriel was present. Other reps were there from the Colts, Bucs, Eagles, Texans, 49ers, Falcons, Jets, Dolphins and Packers.

Jackson told the Post-Standard that he feels he may have improved his position on various boards in the draft with his numbers at the Pro Day workout. "Any tenth of a second in the secondary position in the 40 or any half of an inch or inch in the vertical at the position I play is critical at this time," Jackson said. "I mean, it doesn't display what type of football player you are necessarily. It shows how explosive you are and how you test. That's what they base so much on."

Jackson finished with five interceptions in 45 total games (33 starts) at Syracuse. He had two interceptions in 2006 and broke up just six passes, but he showed his versatility last season as a linebacker in some nickel passing defenses. At January's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Jackson played some safety.

"A lot of teams like me at the safety position," Jackson said. "I think it's just the system that I'll be drafted into will determine where I'll be playing. The coaches like the versatility, the fact I can play corner and safety, so it's an advantage for me right now."

Al Harris and Charles Woodson are the starters at cornerback for the Packers, but the depth behind them is questionable. Patrick Dendy is the third best cornerback on Green Bay's roster. Will Blackmon, a fourth-round pick by Green Bay last year, was hampered by injuries last season, so the jury is still out on his ability to play in the NFL.

Marquand Manuel and Nick Collins are Green Bay's starting safeties with Marviel Underwood and Tyrone Culver as the top backups. But both starters often struggled last season, which may lead to some changes at starter at one or both safety positions.

Keep an eye on Jackson on draft day. The Packers may be calling his name in the second or third round.


Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.

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