SEC­OND ROUND

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Iowa’s Josh Jack­son gives Pack­ers an­other corner

Green Bay — The Green Bay Pack­ers have built quite the pipe­line from the Univer­sity of Iowa.

They hope to have pulled out an­other win­ning draft pick from the Hawkeyes af­ter se­lect­ing cor­ner­back Josh Jack­son in the sec­ond round with the 45th over­all pick Fri­day night.

Jack­son joins Micah Hyde (159th pick in 2013), Mike Daniels (132nd in 2012) and Bryan Bu­laga (23rd in 2010) as re­cent Green Bay picks out of Iowa.

“Mike Daniels and Micah Hyde have been in con­tact,” Jack­son said. “I know those guys played there. I know those guys have a great work ethic and, com­ing from Iowa I also have a great work ethic. So I just plan to come in and work as hard as I can.”

Jack­son is unique be­cause he was a late bloomer in Iowa City.

He was re­cruited by Iowa head coach Kirk Fer­entz as a wide re­ceiver out of Lake Dal­las (Texas) High School. He red­shirted in 2014 and then was switched to cor­ner­back in the spring be­fore the 2015 sea­son.

Over the next few sea­sons he played mostly as a backup, mak­ing only one start.

He played in 14 games in 2015, mak­ing eight tack­les and break­ing up two passes.

Jack­son had 10 tack­les and four passes de­fensed in 2016.

So al­most no­body was an­tic­i­pat­ing an All-Amer­i­can sea­son in Jack­son’s ju­nior sea­son last year.

“If you are fa­mil­iar with Iowa foot­ball, that’s how they do it there,” Pack­ers scout Alonzo Dot­son said. “They bring those guys up through the ranks and they do it the right way as far as who is go­ing to play.”

Jack­son led the na­tion with eight in­ter­cep­tions and 26 passes de­fensed in 2017. Those eight picks also tied a school record. Five of them came in a two-game binge against Wis­con­sin and Ohio State.

Against the Badgers on Nov. 11, Jack­son re­turned both of his picks for touch­downs

of 52 and 43 yards.

“A whole bunch of film study. A whole bunch of hard work,” Jack­son said about his big sea­son. “Just pre­pare your­self for the op­po­nent.”

Jack­son’s cov­er­age skills and Iowa pedi­gree make him a nat­u­ral com­par­i­son with Hyde.

Hyde was the 2012 Big Ten de­fen­sive back of the year. He had a 40 time of 4.57, ver­ti­cal jump of 331⁄ 2, broad jump of 10-1 and 12 reps on the bench. His arms were 311⁄ inches and his hands were 93⁄ 8. 2

Jack­son’s num­bers are 4.56 in the 40, 38 ver­ti­cal, 10-3 broad jump and 18 reps on the bench. His arms mea­sure 311⁄ and 8 hands 93⁄ 8.

“Def­i­nitely the where­withal to get that ball. Ball skills,” Dot­son said when asked to com­pare Jack­son and Hyde. “I thought Micah did a great job track­ing, that cen­ter-field type. Josh has the same skills; just so smart.”

Jack­son’s foot­ball IQ was of­ten cited in the pre-draft process.

“(It’s) just a whole bunch of prepa­ra­tion, a whole bunch of fo­cus,” he said “Just work­ing hard in prac­tice. Not tak­ing reps off.”

Jack­son’s eye-pop­ping num­bers in his ju­nior sea­son had some NFL draft ob­servers de­bat­ing if he was a first-round tal­ent or a one-sea­son won­der.

The Pack­ers thought the ball skills were too good to turn down.

“Un­canny abil­ity to get out of those breaks and play down the field,” Dot­son said.

Dot­son added that the team wasn’t wor­ried about Jack­son’s tack­ling abil­ity.

“You might want to get on him be­cause he’s a leaner-built kid,” Dot­son said. “But the will and want-to to get play­ers down is there.”

Jack­son was happy he landed with the Pack­ers.

“It’s a great or­ga­ni­za­tion, great de­fen­sive minds, great of­fen­sive minds,” Jack­son said.

He joins first-round pick Jaire Alexan­der (18th over­all) to help in­fuse the Pack­ers’ sec­ondary with some youth.

In fact, Jack­son said the two new­est Pack­ers are friends.

He thinks the young cor­ner­backs’ skills will com­ple­ment each other.

“Great things, man,” Jack­son said. “We both have a great hunger in­side of us.”

JEF­FREY BECKER / USA TO­DAY SPORTS

Josh Jack­son’s eight in­ter­cep­tions and 26 passes de­fensed last sea­son were tops in col­lege foot­ball. Five of his in­ter­cep­tions were against Wis­con­sin and Ohio State.

Iowa’s Josh Jack­son cel­e­brates one of his two in­ter­cep­tions re­turne

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