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Walker: Cowboys impressed with rookie who told team to 'come get me'

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  • Walker: Cowboys impressed with rookie who told team to 'come get me'

    By PATRIK WALKER May 31, 9:20 AM

    It wasn't a foregone conclusion the Dallas Cowboys would select a cornerback in the 2019 NFL Draft.

    There were arguably more pressing needs to fill, although their stellar offseason haul of veteran talent kept any of those from being an absolute must-resolve. With the level of flexibility throughout the draft, they were able to simply stick to their board and truly select the best player available. After striking not one, but two, deals to trade back on Day 2, they finally went on the clock with the 158th-overall pick, and the team knew exactly who they wanted.

    It was Michael Jackson, a star corner from the University of Miami, and could fit quite nicely from the outset.

    Jackson has the length, overall frame and downright nasty demeanor that passing game coordinator Kris Richard loves in a defensive back, and will serve as insurance for Byron Jones for now, with the All-Pro having undergone hip surgery this offseason. The expectation is Jones will return by Week 1 of the regular season, but in the event he's not quite ready, Jackson will likely get the nod. A select few have lobbed the possibility of making him a safety convert, but I feel that would be a mistake. Although he can flex to strong safety, the expectation is he'll see snaps at nickel corner, with the Cowboys seeing what else Jackson can do outside of that primary role.

    Should that be the case, Richard is confident in what Jackson brings to the table.

    "Very pleased with him," Richard said of the rookie, via Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News. "Intelligent, very smart, very sharp, picks things up really quick. Big, massive man. He's about 210 pounds, very fast, has nice athleticism.

    "I think he's got corner and nickel combo ability for us. Obviously the more you can do, the more value that you'll present for yourself."

    You can count head coach Jason Garrett in as a passenger on the Jackson train.

    "He certainly has all of the physical tools," he said, via The Dallas Morning News. "He's big, long, fast, physical all the things we like in our guys. He's best in press [coverage], and you're talking about drafting a guy in the fifth round at a premium position with all the traits you're looking for. Again, we liked him a lot.

    "Strongly endorsed by the people in Miami on the kind of guy he is. All those things are very favorable."

    For his part, Jackson could not have been more vehement ahead of the draft regarding where he wanted to play. Whereas other prospects are keyed in on where they're selected, for a variety of reasons, the former Miami standout had a unique take on it all. It's likely this rare type of maturity that nudged the Cowboys' over the line when considering who to select with the 158th-overall pick.

    "Me personally, I didn't care about how high I went as long as I went to the right team," Jackson saidduring rookie minicamp. "You go high and you go to the wrong team, you can end up a bust or whatever you want to call it. I feel like Coach Richard saw something in me, so I'm satisfied."

    He made sure to make that point clear when he visited with Richard ahead of the draft.

    "I don't care when you get me," Jackson told Richard. "As long as you come get me."

    Spoiler alert: They did just that.

    Now the rookie corner has the daunting task of proving he belongs on the 53-man roster, and making them remember the time he told them he'd be a smooth criminal.
    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion