In light of the news that they have likely lost starting nickel cornerback Quandre Diggs for the year, the Detroit Lions had to do something. As first reported by Mike Garafolo of NFL Network—and later confirmed by other Lions beat writers—the team will be signing cornerback Asa Jackson from the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad.
Jackson was drafted by the Ravens back in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. During his rookie year, he worked alongside current Lions defensive coordinator and then Baltimore secondary coach Teryl Austin. Throughout his four-year career, he’s bounced on and off the Ravens’ squad both as part of the roster and their practice squad. In total, he has made 18 game appearances (zero in 2016), six starts and 30 tackles.
It’s not clear yet whether Jackson will be relied upon to take on Diggs’ role. During Sunday’s game against the Saints, it was mostly Adairius Barnes who played the slot corner position when Diggs went down. Jackson will likely be eased into his role with the Lions and potentially used more as a special teams player to begin with. In fact, if the Lions need it, Jackson has some experience as a kick returner.
For now, I wouldn’t expect Jackson to come right in and take a big chunk of playing time for the defense, but he’s another player that Teryl Austin is likely very familiar with and knows what he wants to do with.