The Titans’ secondary is made up of a healthy mix of inexperienced, and savvy veteran players. Kevin Byard is once again playing at an All-Pro level. Byard’s pick-six in Sunday’s win over the Rams was his fifth interception of the season. He trails only Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs (7) in that category. Veteran cornerback Jackrabbit Jenkins is also playing a quality brand of football.
The most underrated member of the secondary may be sophomore cornerback Chris Jackson. A seventh-round selection out of Marshall, Jackson has taken his play to another level this season. Jackson was expected to battle for snaps in the slot with rookie Elijah Molden, but injuries to Kristian Fulton and Caleb Farley forced Jackson into playing some outside cornerback. He has more than answered the call.
The Rams targeted Jackson early and often on Sunday night. It makes some sense, as head coach Sean McVay was likely hoping to avoid the likes of Byard and Jenkins in coverage. Jackson was targeted 13 times, but gave up just six catches for a mere 43 yards, via Pro Football Focus. In fact, opposing quarterbacks are averaging a pathetic 4.8 yards per attempt when targeting Jackson in coverage this season.
Jackson’s growth in Year 2 is not only a testament to how secondary coach Anthony Midget has helped him develop, but also reflects well on a scouting department that identified him as a potential diamond-in-the-rough on Day 3.
Head coach Mike Vrabel was quick to heap praise on Jackson during Monday’s presser.
“We appreciate Chris,” Vrabel said. “He’s played well for us. He can continue to improve in the slot, but he’s done some good things outside. His ability to tackle in the run game is great. He had a good offseason. Hopefully he can continue to bring some stability and versatility.”
Jackson’s play has drawn rave reviews from those who have paid attention.
Jackson will continue to get opportunities at cornerback. He played an astounding 78 snaps on Sunday, which accounted for every defensive snap. The 23-year-old Minneapolis native is turning into quite the story. Tennessee will hope Jackson continues on his upward trajectory, and that he will provide a boost for a unit that has been ravaged by injury.