Patriots

20 Under 25 candidates: J.C. Jackson went from undrafted rookie to starting corner in just six months

dl_20u25_jc_jackson.png
File Photo

20 Under 25 candidates: J.C. Jackson went from undrafted rookie to starting corner in just six months

It took only about six months. J.C. Jackson went from being undrafted in the spring to starting as a boundary corner opposite Stephon Gilmore. In Week 13, he helped shut down the high-powered Vikings passing game.

At 6-foot-1, 198 pounds, Jackson has the size to match up with bigger receivers on the outside and his playing style makes him a good match for receivers who may be susceptible to lapses when their timing is thrown off. Jackson is a physical defensive back, unafraid to use his hands at the line of scrimmage or down the field -- which in his rookie season has made him one of the team's most disruptive corners and one of its most penalized. 

Those sorts of up-and-down results -- four penalties (behind only Gilmore despite playing just 185 snaps) and two picks -- have a chance to shift in a more positive direction as Jackson learns the ropes of the pro game. He clearly has some enticing tools to work with that go well with his size and aggressiveness. 

"He locates the ball as good as anybody I've seen that we've had at corner," Devin McCourty said.

Jackson's road as a collegian helped him go unclaimed in the draft. He was dismissed from the University of Florida in 2015 after being charged with four first-degree felonies stemming from an armed robbery of a home. He was later found not guilty and spent a season at Riverside Community College. He then transferred to Maryland where he earned an All-Conference honorable mention in his second season.

Since landing in New England, he's made the most of his opportunities and has flashed high-end starter potential if he can continue to refine some of his technique. He's already shown he can add significant value to a Patriots defense that values size, ball skills and sticky man-to-man coverage on the outside.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Stephon Gilmore shares two items he always has when the Patriots are on the road

Stephon Gilmore shares two items he always has when the Patriots are on the road

Everybody has things they like to bring with them when they travel, and Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore is no different.

In an interview with Patriots.com before New England takes on the lowly Dolphins on the road, Gilmore shared the two items he always brings with him these trips: His son's toy truck and his daughter's bow. 

The All-Pro corner prefers to keep his kids in mind when he's away from home, and it's hard to argue with the results. Gilmore is easily one of the five best corners in the game, and leads a secondary that stifled the Steelers offense in Week 1. 

Miami might be the worst team in the league by a wide margin, but the Patriots have always had their fair share of issues beating the Dolphins on the road.

That probably won't make a difference on Sunday given the supreme difference in talent between these two teams, so it's a game where the Patriots can work on their execution and maybe get backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham his first pro reps if the game's completely out of hand. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Terry Bradshaw blasts Antonio Brown: 'I wouldn't throw to him'

Terry Bradshaw blasts Antonio Brown: 'I wouldn't throw to him'

Think Antonio Brown had problems with Ben Roethlisberger?

He should be thankful he wasn't around a generation earlier to play for another Steelers quarterback.

Pittsburgh Hall of Fame QB and FOX NFL analyst Terry Bradshaw didn't hold back on his disdain for Brown, who wore out his welcome after nine seasons with the Steelers and only a few weeks with the Oakland Raiders, only to wind up signing with the Patriots.

Brown broke most of the Steelers receiving records set by Bradshaw targets John Stallworth and Lynn Swann in the '70s and '80s, but in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Bradshaw sounded pleased Brown wasn't around in his day.

“I wouldn’t throw to him,” Bradshaw said. 

“Let New England have him,” he said. “Maybe he becomes [the late Reverend] Billy Graham, I don’t know. I seriously doubt it, seriously doubt it.

“I’m not pulling for him, I can promise you that.

“Winning football games is all about the team and all about players caring about one another and everybody pulling together, not pulling apart,” Bradshaw said, warning that the controversy that led to Brown's exits from the Steelers and Raiders will surface in New England. “You can’t have Antonio Brown for all the greatness that they are, do you want the baggage that goes with that crap? I wouldn’t."

Two days after signing with the Patriots, Brown was hit with a civil lawsuit from a former trainer who accuses him of sexual assault and rape. He traveled with the Pats to Miami and is expected to make his debut with New England Sunday against the Dolphins in Miami. 

“I cannot emphasize how I cannot stand and have a disdain totally for players like that,” Bradshaw said. “I don’t want any part of them. I wouldn’t like them. They would hate me if they were on our team. They would hate me because I wouldn’t throw to him.

“I will not put up with that kind of behavior. You don’t win with it. Why haven’t we [the Steelers] won more Super Bowls? There is talent, [but] it’s just guys like him. Let him go and his brand and whatever it is he’s doing.”

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.