Vikings

Khyree Jackson’s Special Traits Highlight Minnesota’s Confidence In Brian Flores

Photo Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

As one of the heaviest blitzers in the league, Brian Flores is known around the NFL for his aggressiveness. Since blitzing is a staple of his defense, Flores prefers to play press-man coverage, which doesn’t require his squad to drop many of his players into zone. Kevin O’Connell sees eye to eye with him on this.

“We want to get to a place where we can play more man coverage,” O’Connell said. “We want to pair our pressures with some man coverage on the back side.”

The front seven typically blitzes, so their newly drafted cornerback, Khyree Jackson, and his press-man coverage strength are a great fit for his defense.

Jackson is a physical 6’4”, 194 lb. corner. He has great length at the cornerback position, with 32 ¾” arms. Jackson also ran a 4.5 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine, tied for 19th among cornerbacks. His size and arm length allow him to effectively jam receivers at the line of scrimmage, which is necessary for press coverage.

He also has enough speed to keep up with receivers down the field and the arm length to make plays on the ball. Jackson’s physical attributes were among the first things senior vice president of player personnel Ryan Grigson discussed regarding Jackson.

“Just right off the top.” Grigson said, “Obviously, rare length. I mean, really rare length in size for a corner. But little-man quickness, plays with explosion, burst, and that elongated package.”

Khyree started his college career at Fort Scott Community College and then moved to East Mississippi Community College before arriving in Alabama. He was reserve for two years in Tuscaloosa until he transferred to Oregon last season. In his first full season as a starter, he was named first-team all-Pac-12 and was second in the conference in interceptions. His best traits are his willingness and effectiveness as a run defender and blitzer.

Corners and wide receivers must straddle the line between confidence and irrational confidence. Richard Sherman made a name for himself by believing in his ability. Similarly, Jackson carries himself with undeniable swagger.

Jackson hit it off with the Vikings coaches at the Senior Bowl:

I just told them I was the best corner in the draft, and I thought they were probably going to be getting me for cheaper because of some of the politics that go into it. Just being honest, I felt confident in my ability, and the numbers spoke for themselves. I was in a very pass-heavy conference this year. I think I showed versus a lot of top-tier receivers and quarterbacks what I could do.

Draft analysts have deemed Jackson a great fit for Flores’ defense.

Khyree’s physical frame, combined with his strengths in physicality at run defending and press-man coverage, is exactly why the Vikings decided to select him with their fourth-round pick and believe that he can help fill a need at the cornerback position.

“And that’s something that the toughness element, you know, we’re just watching highlights, and a guy’s helmet goes flying off,” Grigson said. “He has a physical aspect to his game that I think he’ll fit right in.”

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