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Donte Jackson Isn’t Worried About the Naysayers: ‘I Really Just Worry About Getting Better Every Day’



Donte Jackson

With the gaping hole at wide receiver opposite of George Pickens, many have been skeptical of the Diontae Johhnson trade to the Carolina Panthers. The Steelers claim they’re happy with their wide receivers depth, but is that a good thing? It seems like there’s a lot left to be desired.

In the Johnson trade package, Vinnie Iyer of The Sporting News thinks the Steelers didn’t get great value in cornerback Donte Jackson, either. He tabbed trading for Jackson as the team’s worst offseason move.

“The Steelers have been working hard to fix corner with different combinations over multiple years. They at least have rising star Joey Porter Jr. now, but giving up wide receiver Diontae Johnson for Jackson wasn’t the same value in return,” Iyer wrote.

Jackson isn’t worried about the outside noise. He’s just focused on being the best version of himself.

“At this point of my career, I really just worry about getting better every day,” Jackson said in an interview with Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Thursday’s episode of Breakfast with Benz. “People going to have good stuff to say, people going to have bad stuff to say. I really don’t try to live up to no hype or just make that my main focus. I feel like if I come out every day and just focus on getting better every single day like I’ve been doing, then people going to see what I bring to the table. And that’s what I expect to do.”

Donte Jackson

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Donte Jackson at OTAs on May 28, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin praised Jackson at minicamp. He also explained how he brings a different dimension to the secondary compared to Porter.

“First, he fits in well. I think he’s a real pro,” Austin said of Jackson. “He goes about his business. He asks good questions. He does the things that a good pro will do, and I think the way he’ll fit in because he does give us a different type of cover guy than Joey(Porter). Joey’s going to be a line of scrimmage, tall, get his hands on people. Donte’s going to have the ability to play off and can really run. So, he gives us a little bit of a nice matchup in terms of coverage and some flexibility because he has played and done some things inside. So, I like where he fits that way. And so, I think it’s good for us. You know, we’d like to have guys that can do multiple things in a secondary and he fits that.”

Porter will be the Steelers bona fide No. 1 cornerback and press guy, while Jackson will play off coverage. The Steelers want to play to each corners strengths.

“If Joey continues his direction, I want him against the top guy regardless of body type,” secondary coach Grady Brown said. “And he wants to get up and press guys. But Donte might not do that and could play off. We’re not going to push guys out of their strengths.”

Nick Farabaugh contributed reporting from Pittsburgh.