Buffalo Bills: Dane Jackson positioned to be key part of cornerback depth
Recent moves by the Buffalo Bills has set up rookie Dane Jackson to be a key part to the team’s depth at cornerback in 2020.
The depth at cornerback has been an issue for the Buffalo Bills over the past few years. While the team did add Josh Norman, if they were to lose Tre’Davious White there is no question that this position would struggle to fill that void.
In addition to Norman, the Buffalo Bills signed veteran E.J. Gaines but he has since elected to opt out of the 2020 season. Shortly after that news broke, the Buffalo Bills added Akeem King but he was released when the team activated wide receiver Duke Williams off the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
As it stands now, the Bills have Tre’Davious White on one side while Norman and Levi Wallace will be battling for the other starting corner job. This leaves Taron Johnson at nickel with Siran Neal likely to remain in the big nickel role.
The opt out of E.J. Gaines, combined with the release of Akeem King, presents a great opportunity for seventh round draft pick Dane Jackson to play a big role as a rookie. The former University of Pittsburgh corner played pretty extensively at college with 41 starts over his final three seasons. Over that stretch he had 35 passes defended, 109 total tackles and three interceptions.
The reason that Dane Jackson is so pivotal to the position as a rookie is the versatility he brings. While he could step in as an outside corner, due in large part to the zone coverage scheme the Buffalo Bills run, his value really is as the backup to Taron Johnson.
One of the concerns with Taron Johnson is certainly durability as he has missed time each of the past two seasons due to injury. This means that there is a high chance the Bills will ask Jackson to step in to the starting lineup at some point in the coming season.
The scouting reports on The Draft Network highlight Jackson’s best fit as a slot corner in the NFL:
"Dane Jackson projects as a potential nickel cornerback at the pro level. Jackson shows quick feet and good stickiness on route stems to stay attached and contest receivers, plus he offered the needed tenacity to play in the D-gap as a nick."
If the Buffalo Bills don’t bring in any additional cornerbacks over the next few weeks, Dane Jackson could be the key piece to the cornerback position this coming season.