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CB J.C. Jackson expected to draw free-agent interest from Chargers

Trading for pass-rushing dynamo Khalil Mack might not be the only major defensive splash the Los Angeles Chargers make this offseason.

NFL Network's Mike Giardi reported Sunday that he expects the Chargers to be heavily involved in the J.C. Jackson sweepstakes.

Jackson has emerged as one of the top man-to-man cover cornerbacks in the NFL and is hitting the open market as the No. 2 free agent in Gregg Rosenthal's Top 101 NFL free agents after the New England Patriots surprisingly did not apply the franchise tag.

Only 26-years-old, Jackson is conceivably entering his prime as the year-to-year improvement in his play and production points to. He's coming off a 2021 season in which he earned his first Pro Bowl selection, recorded a career-high 58 tackles and tallied an NFL-best 23 passes defended. Jackson added eight interceptions, giving him 17 over the past two seasons and 25 in his four-year career.

Jackson would seemingly fit perfectly into Chargers head coach Brandon Staley's defensive scheme, no doubt opening Bolts fans' eyes to the prospects of Jackson filling a role similar to that of Jalen Ramsey with the Los Angeles Rams. Staley was the Rams' defensive coordinator before joining the Chargers last season.

Though Jackson would be an instant boost to any team's secondary, the Chargers have a need at cornerback. Rookie Asante Samuel Jr. flashed brilliance, but dealt with concussion issues throughout the year. Jackson finished the 2021 campaign with an 82.7 Pro Football Focus Grade, while Samuel drew a 56.4 grade and other Bolts CBs Michael Davis and Chris Harris graded out at 54.0 and 62.4, respectively.

With Mack and Joey Bosa rushing the passer, the Chargers defense, which finished last season ranked 23th overall, would be an elite unit on paper if Jackson were to join the Derwin James-led secondary.

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