New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson's excellent performances in the 2020 NFL season were not enough to earn him a Pro Bowl nod, but his mindset is in the right place.
The league announced the AFC and NFC rosters for the 2021 Pro Bowl earlier this week. Jackson's teammate, Stephon Gilmore, was one of four cornerbacks selected in the AFC, along with Xavien Howard of the Miami Dolphins, Marlon Humphrey of the Baltimore Ravens and Tre'Davious White of the Buffalo Bills.
Jackson has shined in coverage this season and ranks second in the league with eight interceptions. The only player with more interceptions is Howard (nine).
The 25-year-old cornerback reacted to his Pro Bowl snub during a press conference Thursday.
If Jackson is able to play way better than he has in 2020, the Patriots secondary should be in good shape for the foreseeable future. New England has been fortunate to have a No. 1 cornerback for much of Bill Belichick's 20-year tenure as head coach. Players such as Ty Law, Asante Samuel, Darrelle Revis and Gilmore quickly come to mind. Jackson has the talent to be mentioned in that group fairly soon.
Monday night's Week 16 matchup against the Buffalo Bills will be a great challenge for Jackson and the entire Patriots defense. Jackson likely will be matched up with Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who ranks third in receiving yards (1,314) and leads the league in receptions (111).
Gilmore is on injured reserve and won't play the rest of the season, so Jackson will be in the spotlight in the final two games. It's a tremendous opportunity for him, but regardless of how it shakes out, Jackson already has earned a substantial raise heading into restricted free agency this offseason.