The Los Angeles Chargers were aggressive in bolstering their roster this offseason after they disappointingly missed the playoffs in 2021.
The signing of JC Jackson, the most sought-after cornerback in free agency, was a clear indicator the front office meant business and they followed that up by trading for Khalil Mack to give Joey Bosa a stud sidekick.
At just 26 years old, Jackson is already one of the game’s best corners and he only figures to improve with more experience. Since Jackson entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2018, his 25 interceptions are the most among defenders and his 53 passes defended are tied for third.
With some fans weary of how Jackson will perform outside of Bill Belichick’s system – plus Patriots free agents have tended to fall on their face after leaving Foxborough – we’re here to ease those concerns.
In fact, there’s reason to believe Jackson will shine even brighter in Los Angeles than he ever did in New England and it all traces back to the Chargers’ pass rush.
The Chargers' pass rush could help JC Jackson be even more dominant than he was with the Patriots.
It’s quite apparent that a dominant pass rush makes a secondary’s job easier and Jackson never had so much as an above-average pass rush in New England. Even after the Patriots signed Matt Judon, their pass rush relied solely on Judon and rookie Christian Barmore, an interior defender, to generate pressure.
With Bosa and Mack coming off the edge for the Chargers, it’s reasonable to assume Jackson could create even more turnovers in Brandon Staley’s defense. Even if his interceptions regress to the mean (he has 17 in the last two years), LA’s pass rush could help him be more authoritative against opposing No. 1 wideouts.
For context, Jackson allowed just a 47.8 passer rating when targeted (he was targeted 98 times last season, per PFF) and parlayed that into an elite 83.0 coverage grade that placed him fifth at the cornerback position.
Jackson will admittedly have to up his game in an improved division, but Stephon Gilmore’s unceremonious Patriots departure gave him a needed test trial matching up against opposing team’s top wideouts for a full year. More often than not (Stefon Diggs being the lone exception), Jackson came out on top.
Now that he has an elite pass rush in front of him, it’s not crazy to think Jackson can take his game to new heights with the Bolts.