There is no question that J.C. Jackson is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL today, and now he has a Pro Bowl nomination to show for it. One of three members of the New England Patriots to get voted to the league’s all-star game this season, Jackson has finally made the cut after missing out on the honor the first three years of his career.
The Pro Bowl itself may be a glorified popularity contest, but it still carries some meaning as Jackson’s statements one day after the announcement show.
“It was a blessing,” he said about receiving the news. “Just being able to be in my first Pro Bowl, it means a lot to me and everything I dedicated and the hard work I put in. Looking forward to the Pro Bowl, and to make many more Pro Bowls. ...
“That’s always been my goal since I entered the NFL. I want to meet all the goals. I want to be a Hall of Famer, Pro Bowler, All-Pro. That’s what you play for: you play to be the best; you play to compete.”
Jackson originally arrived in New England as an undrafted free agent in 2018. Despite his lack of draft status, he was able to make the team’s roster as a rookie. He has not looked back: since joining the organization, he has helped the Patriots win a Super Bowl and is also leading the league in interceptions.
Along the way, he rose from rotational status to number one cornerback on one of the league’s best defenses — one he also made sure to mention when speaking to reporters on Thursday.
“All the guys, my teammates, they congratulated me for all the hard work,” he said. “I want to thank those guys too. I didn’t do it by myself. I want to thank my teammates, the coaches.”
So far this season, Jackson has appeared in all 14 games and picked off seven passes and forced a fumble. He also has scored the first touchdown of his career when he ran an interception back 88 yards against the Carolina Panthers — the team now rostering his predecessor as the Patriots’ top cornerback, Stephon Gilmore.
Jackson has helped replace Gilmore in New England, and his Pro Bowl nod is further proof of that.