Panthers fans have come to know and appreciate Donte Jackson after a solid rookie year with the team. With so much speed and so much personality, what’s not to love?
But last February at the NFL Scouting Combine, no one knew Jackson was going to end up in Carolina as a second-round pick.
Everyone, however, knew the fiery cornerback was going to run fast in Indy.
“Don’t blink,” Jackson told reporters. “You’re going to miss it.”
He got everyone’s attention with a 4.32 40-yard dash, which tied for the best time among all participants.
And after further review, his press conference performance wasn’t too shabby either – no surprise given what we know now about D-Jack.
“From the waist down, I’m track. Everything else up from there, my mentality, my toughness, my swagger, my confidence, all that’s straight football player,” Jackson said. “I’m mean on the field, I bite, I’m a Rottweiler. Mentality-wise, I’m all football.”
For Jackson – who measured in at 5-foot-11, 178 pounds – there was considerable concern that he might not be able to hold his own physically in the NFL.
But the former LSU Tiger spoke like a man who had zero doubt.
“I’m a dog. That’s how I developed the skill to play out there,” Jackson said. “I was taught by dogs like Jalen Mills, Jamal Adams, Tre’Davious White, so I was groomed to be a guy out there on an island with confidence. I play with confidence, I carry myself with a lot of confidence and a lot of swagger, so I think I’ll be ready to play on an island and hold my own like I’ve been doing my whole career.”
Jackson’s objective in Indianapolis was to prove to NFL evaluators that there was more to his game than speed alone.
Some teams may have looked at his measurables and shied away. Their loss and the Panthers gain.
“I don’t take my speed for granted, but I always want to stress I’m a complete corner,” Jackson said. “I’m aggressive, I’m a technician, I have great ball skills, I’m not scared to hit anybody, tough, and I play with confidence out that and I love to compete. I think that makes the complete corner, and I think that’s what I am – just with God-given speed.”