Patriots

Jackson still very confident in 'scary' Pats CB group

Patriots

The New England Patriots lost a lot of talent this offseason, but they still boast one of the strongest position groups in the NFL.

The Patriots remain loaded at cornerback entering 2020, with reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore leading a group that also includes J.C. Jackson, Jason McCourty, Jonathan Jones, Joejuan Williams, Myles Bryant, D'Angelo Ross and recent trade acquisition Michael Jackson.

J.C. Jackson blossomed into a strong slot cornerback last season to complement Gilmore and McCourty on the outside, leading the NFL in passer rating on throws into his coverage, per Pro Football Focus.

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That may explain why the 24-year-old believes the Patriots' cornerback group can lock up pass-catchers in 2020, too.

"Scary," Jackson said Wednesday in a video conference when asked about the group's mentality. "It’s a scary sight, man."

New England will need its cornerbacks to strike fear into opponents this season to account for losses elsewhere on the defense: Veteran safeties Patrick Chung (opt-out) and Duron Harmon (trade to Detroit) are gone, as are linebackers Dont'a Hightower (opt-out), Kyle Van Noy (free agency), Jamie Collins (free agency) and Elandon Roberts (free agency).

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Jackson played 68 percent of the Patriots' defensive snaps last season and could see a more expanded role in 2020, especially if Williams transitions to safety.

 

For all of his confidence in his position group, though, the Florida product is tempering his individual expectations.

"I'm just trying to build on what I did last year and carry it on to this year," Jackson said. "It's a new year every year, and I have to prove myself and compete to try and earn a job.”

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