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Meet the *other* Lamar Jackson, the Jets’ new free agent cornerback signee

It’s not easy to share a name with a famous celebrity, let alone when you’re a football player and he’s the reigning NFL MVP. That’s probably how Nebraska cornerback Lamar Jackson — yes, spelled exactly the same as the Baltimore Ravens quarterback — feels. Jackson, the cornerback, wasn’t selected in the NFL draft, but was signed by the New York Jets as an UDFA.

The 2020 cornerback’s name has been a popular topic of conversation as he makes his journey to the NFL. This Jackson may not be a Heisman Trophy winner or a star quarterback, but he’s a solid NFL prospect on his own.

Let’s get to know the “other” Lamar Jackson.

What you need to know about Jackson’s draft stock

Jackson was a three-year starter at Nebraska, where he was one of the Huskers’ most reliable players. As a sophomore, he was the only cornerback to start in every game in 2017. In his junior season the next year, he had seven pass breakups, two interceptions, and a forced fumble.

His best season came as a senior in 2019, when he finished with a career-high 40 tackles, four tackles for loss, three picks, and a sack. He was also named to the second-team All-Big Ten team. He finished his Nebraska career with 22 pass breakups, which ranks 10th in school history.

On film, Jackson shows great instincts and ball awareness for the position, but he can defend the run, too.

Here’s what SB Nation draft expert Dan Kadar says about Jackson’s ability as a cornerback:

The first, obvious thing you notice about Jackson is his size. There just aren’t many 6’3, 215-pound cornerbacks out there. And the key to being that big at cornerback is utilizing it. Jackson often does in how he reroutes receivers and gets his hands on them at the line. If a team needs a corner who can handle 6’3 or 6’4 wide receivers, Jackson is your man. He is a little limited, though, as being an outside cornerback. He’s not the fastest on the field, and speedy receivers do give him trouble. His size also limits his flexibility and how quickly he can flip his hips and keep up on complex routes. Some may like him more as a safety.

Kadar has him being picked anywhere between the third or fifth rounds.

Here’s what the cornerback Jackson has said about the quarterback Jackson

Another fun fact about Jackson is he actually played quarterback and defensive back in high school. He was more of a dual-threat QB like the Ravens’ Jackson, too. But he stuck with playing cornerback when he went to college.

While the two Jacksons’ football journeys have been quite different, the cornerback doesn’t mind sharing a name with the quarterback.

“At first there was really nothing to it, but of course as the other Lamar Jackson on his football journey, he became a star,” Jackson said in January 2020 via Press Box Online. “He won the Heisman. He became who he was. It’s one of those things where I’m just like, ‘The magic might just be in the name.’ He can have all the fame — he’s scoring touchdowns, he’s the quarterback — but for the most part I’m going to be in the league, too. I’m going to be living just as well.”

Now with Jackson getting signed by the Jets, there’s a chance we could have two Lamar Jacksons in the NFL next season, which is pretty fun!

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