Chargers CB Asante Samuel Jr. on addition of J.C. Jackson: 'That's what we definitely need'

A prized free agent atop the 2022 class, J.C. Jackson would have been a welcome addition for any NFL team.

For a Los Angeles Chargers squad that finished a win away from the postseason, Jackson's insertion could be crucial in L.A. returning to the playoffs.

Fellow Bolts cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. is certainly singing the praises of his new teammate.

"J.C. Jackson is a dog," Samuel said Monday, via team transcript. "He's a ball player. He wants to get better and he wants to work. That's what we definitely need; a ballhawk that just wants to work."

Jackson has quite simply been one of the NFL's best ballhawks, having tallied 25 interceptions in his four-season career, with 17 over the past two seasons. In 2021, he had a league-leading 23 passes defended for the New England Patriots.

With his addition, the Bolts' defensive backfield now boasts Jackson, Samuel, free-agent signee Bryce Callahan and multiyear starter Michael Davis at the cornerback spots with Pro Bowler Derwin James and Nasir Adderley back at safety.

For a Chargers defense that was 29th in points allowed, Jackson -- along with other new additions like Khalil Mack -- will be looked upon to make an immediate impact. While the season is more than three months away, he's already having an influence on Samuel, who's entering his second season.

"We really haven't been doing football things, just talking with him and stuff like that," Samuel said. "Definitely, I can tell that he is trying to, not necessarily be a big brother, but a mentor -- whatever he sees, and whatever I ask of him, he will tell me and try to help me get better with it."

Samuel got off to a great start in 2021, but a concussion sidelined him for a time and slowed him. He'll return for a Chargers defense that will have the starry additions of Jackson and Mack and plenty more new faces besides.

At this juncture of the offseason, Samuel doesn't know how or if his role will change, but he's open-minded at the prospect.

"That's a good question. Honestly, I'm just going to leave it up to the coaches, whatever they feel like I need to do," Samuel said. "I'm a team player; whatever we have to do to win the game, that's what I'll do. It doesn't really matter to me."

The Chargers were 22nd in the NFL last season with 11 interceptions, as three players, including Samuel, tied for the team high with two picks. Jackson's never had less than three interceptions in a season.

In Samuel's eyes, Jackson has filled an area of need for the Bolts, who have lofty aspirations for the 2022 season to come.

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