Cornerback is a position the Philadelphia Eagles need to address in the 2021 NFL Draft. Arkansas cornerback Jerry Jacobs is an intriguing prospect and ITI had the chance to sit down with him recently. This is the type of guy who will fly under-the-radar and surprise a lot of people.
The five-foot-eleven, 203-pound cornerback is ready to take the NFL by storm. Just a few years ago, he stepped onto the field for the first time in his college career. In his sophomore season (2018) with Arkansas State, he finished with four interceptions, 12 pass breakups, one forced fumble, and 32 tackles in 13 games. That earned him Second Team All-Sun Belt honors.
Unfortunately, his 2019 campaign was shortened by an injury. That didn’t limit his options in the transfer portal as he landed at an SEC school, Arkansas. In 2020, he played four games there to showcase his talent one last time and then opted out to focus on the draft. Jerry has the benefit of playing in two different defensive schemes at Arkansas State and Arkansas. At Arkansas State, they played more press-man coverage and at Arkansas, they played more zone. His success in both schemes will be attractive to scouts.
Philadelphia Eagles fans will respect Jacobs’ perseverance.
Jerry faced a lot of adversity along the way. During an opportunity that we had to sit with him, he shared some of his story:
I had a lot of adversity in my life. I lost my mom when I was nine-years-old. My mom was like my backbone. My dad was never in my life. She had five kids to take care of on her own and I was the youngest. I lost her after a football game. I remember to this day she was running with me on the sideline and I went to go spend the night at my coach’s house. He woke me up early the next day to take me home. Usually, he would take us home late so I knew something was going on. When I got home and found out the news it just broke me down. I knew she wouldn’t want to see me like that so I just kept my head up. My sister, Kimberly Jacobs, is my backbone. She raised us after that. She was a senior at UGA when my mom passed. She really cared for us and a lot of sisters probably wouldn’t have done the same if they were in her shoes. It was tough but it’s a blessing to be where I am today. She made me the man who I am today. I love her. She made a way. I do this for my family.
Jerry has an inspiring journey to becoming an NFL Draft prospect. Not many people could’ve been in his situation and persevered through everything that he did to get to where he is today. Jerry is the definition of both perseverance and dedication. He will make his family proud in whatever uniform he puts in. Just remember when you see Jerry on the field next season, he’s not just representing himself but also the entire Jacobs family on the back of his jersey.
Jacobs also spoke specifically about what he learned from defensive coordinator Barry Odom during his time at Arkansas and how it prepared him to enter the NFL:
Barry Odom is a great guy. He took time to recruit me and gave me a shot. In terms of the scheme, we were running a lot of zone coverage which was great but I also learned a lot that I need to work on. If I’m playing bail technique, I need to take some time and not get out of it too quickly. I can take a lot of things that he taught with me to the next level. His film study process, game planning, and scheme were unbelievable. He was one of the best. He would make it look like he was on the offense when game planning.
In his own words, here’s what Jacobs brings to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Also, we asked Jerry about his playstyle and what he brings to an NFL team like the Eagles as well as the importance of special teams.
I’m an all-around player. You can put me in the slot, you can put me at safety, or you can put me at cornerback. I can do it all. I’m not trying to be cocky but I feel like I have the ability to line up anywhere you need me to in order to help the team win. I take special teams seriously. Once you get into college, you really have to learn about special teams because some people don’t make it in the league. Special teams is a key part of that. I love being a gunner since I’m pretty quick. Wherever you need me on special teams, I’ll do it. If you need me to play kicker, I’ll do it. Special teams wins games.
Jerry’s versatility and team-first mindset are what defensive coordinators love these days. On special teams, the Eagles could definitely use another gunner opposite of Rudy Ford.
Here’s a quote that may interest Philadelphia Eagles fans.
Before we wrapped up our interview with Jerry, we asked him if he had anything to say to NFL fans and Philadelphia Eagles fans about what they are potentially getting in Jerry Jacobs:
To any of the 32 teams out there who need a hard-working, dedicated, and ambitious player, who is also a leader and a quick learner, you’re getting it. I’m a guy who has football in his heart. I bleed football. I love it. I can’t stop playing it. I’m going to give it my all. 110 percent. I’ll do whatever you need me to. I can’t wait to prove a lot of people wrong. A lot of people say that I’m just talking but they’re going to see when I get into the league that I’m going to accomplish everything that I said I will.
As a cornerback, you have to have that type of confidence. He’s going to fit in perfectly in any locker room.
You can find plenty of talented prospects but not all of them have the passion for the game that Jerry has. He matches that mindset with an impressive skill set. Watch out for Jerry Jacobs in 2021. Teams will regret passing on him in the draft. Eagles fans should have this guy on their draft boards.