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Rookie Adoree' Jackson Aims to Earn Trust of Titans Teammates


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Adoree' Jackson has faith in those around him, starting with his defensive coordinator.

"It is an honor and a blessing to play for him," Jackson said of Dick LeBeau. "He's a Hall of Famer, 62 interceptions (as a player). And he knows what it is like to run the defense, and to be able to help me, scheme-wise. Just listening to him, he's going to put me in the right place. He knows the game, has played the game."

The veterans have already embraced Jackson, starting with his initial text to them not long after the Titans selected the USC cornerback in the first round of the NFL Draft. Quarterback Marcus Mariota was among those who texted Jackson after he was drafted, welcoming him to the team.

"The DBs have treated me like I have been with the team for a while," Jackson said. "They know what they are doing, and I want to learn from them. And they have all made me feel welcome."

Now, Jackson wants to earn the trust of his coaches, and teammates. He'll get a big chance when the Titans kick off organized team activities next week at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

"I just want to get comfortable as fast as possible,'' Jackson said. "I want them to know I know what I am doing, and earn their trust. I want them to be able to count on me when I'm out there. But I know I have to put in the work to make that happen."

The Titans selected Jackson with the 18th overall pick out of USC, and they plan to throw him into the action from the get-go. Jackson worked at cornerback, inside and outside, during the team's rookie minicamp last weekend, and he also returned punts.

At USC, Jackson was the 2016 Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nation's top cornerback. He finished the season with 55 tackles, five interceptions and 11 passes defensed while totaling 1,230 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns.

In addition to playing cornerback, the 5-foot-10, 186-pound Jackson also saw time at receiver, kick returner, punt returner and running back.

Titans coach Mike Mularkey said he wants Jackson to focus on helping on defense out of the gate, along with his work on special teams.

"Adoree' is here to play cornerback for us," Mularkey said. "I am not going to comment on the offensive side. We know what he is capable of doing with the ball in his hands. But let's get him confident in what he is doing and give him a chance to play corner and return, (which is) the initial reason he's here."

Jackson was impressive while competing against the rookies.

This week, he joined the veterans in the offseason program, but his first test against the veterans will come in the OTAs, leading up to a three-day minicamp next month.

Jackson plans to be up for the challenge.

Titans defensive lineman Antwaun Woods, Jackson's teammate at USC, expects him to hold his own.

Jackson was the 2016 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, and he ranked first in Pac-12 history in career kickoff-return touchdowns (four), and fourth all-time in career punt-return scores (four). He was a two-time finalist for the Paul Hornung Award, given annually to the most versatile player in major college football.

"I remember when he first came to USC, and it looked like he'd been there for four years, even though he was a freshman," Woods said. "I knew that coming here (Day 1) he wouldn't be nervous. I remember seeing him fresh out of high school, going out there and challenging juniors and seniors.

"He's going to do great for the team. He's a good athlete obviously, and he's coachable. And he has a great coordinator in Dick LeBeau. So I think it will go well for him."

Top draft picks Corey Davis and Adoree' Jackson are introduced at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)

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