Round 5: Ravens Select CB Jackson

With the 169th-overall pick, Baltimore drafted Cal Poly CB Asa Jackson.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Saturday, April 28th, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Categories: 2012 NFL Draft, Ryan Mink

The Ravens have found another returner to add to their mix, and more help in the secondary.

Baltimore once again went to a small school to select cornerback Asa “Ace” Jackson out of Cal Poly with the 169th pick in the fifth round Saturday afternoon.

Jackson is a smooth, sudden athlete who has major speed. He ran a 4.44-second, 40-yard dash at the combine.

“He’ll be a guy that can go out there and compete,” Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta said. “We’re not going to anoint him as the punt and kick returner, but we think he has a chance to compete.”

Jackson averaged 14.06 yards per punt return, the third-best among active college players in the FCS. He is just the second player in Cal Poly history to get an invitation to the Senior Bowl, and in many ways carried his team last season.

“He doesn’t have extensive experience doing [kick and punt return], but he’s pretty good,” DeCosta said. “He’s a quick-footed guy, he’s got some suddenness … you can see some burst and some twitch.”

Baltimore’s main punt returner last year was cornerback Lardarius Webb, but Head Coach John Harbaugh has said he would prefer to take him off main return duties considering he’s the team’s top cornerback.

The Ravens’ kick returner, wide receiver David Reed, is coming off a season-ending knee injury. His replacement, Tom Zbikowski, departed via free agency.

The 5-foot-10, 193-pound Jackson can also provide more depth in the secondary. He is a four-time first team All Great West Conference cornerback. A four-year starter, he never allowed a touchdown reception in man coverage while lining up at “boundary” cornerback.

The Ravens also saw some of his return prowess by watching him after interceptions.

“One of the reasons we think he can [return] is that on some of his interceptions, you see his ability to return for touchdowns and some of the skills he displayed when he got the ball in his hands,” said General Manager Ozzie Newsome.

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