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Donte Jackson: ‘Surreal’ to Play for Pittsburgh Steelers

New Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Donte Jackson knew that he always wanted to play for Pittsburgh in his NFL career.



Pittsburgh Steelers CB Donte Jackson
Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson (26) warms up before an NFL football game against the , Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)

The Pittsburgh Steelers officially have a new cornerback. Former Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson is coming over and helping to stabilize the room to a degree. It seems that Mike Tomlin and the Steelers have had an eye on Jackson for a long time. They tried to trade for him last season, and in the 2018 NFL Draft, Jackson was high on their radar.

So, it’s unsurprising that Jackson has a mutual interest in playing for the team. In an interview with Steelers Nation Radio, Jackson talked about his feelings after the trade, and the desire he had to play for the Steelers.

“It’s a little bit surreal now,” Jackson said. “It’s one thing getting traded to a team, it’s another thing getting traded to a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers, a franchise I have been admiring for a very long time, since childhood. I am super blessed. Just ready to get to work. I always admired the Steelers. I always admired what this logo stood for and the greatness that comes with it. I am ready to tap into that greatness.”

Donte Jackson has over 70 career starts, but has dealt with some significant injuries, such as tearing his Achilles in 2022.

This past season, Jackson allowed 45 receptions for 588 yards on 57 targets last season. In addition, he allowed three touchdowns. While he has 14 career interceptions, that has not been his forte recently, especially in a secondary for the Steelers that emphasizes those ball skills. In the last two seasons, he has two interceptions. It should be noted that Jackson often gets his hands on the ball, but does not always catch it. He had three dropped interceptions a year ago.

But Jackson can fly. Even post-Achilles injury, Jackson’s 4.32 speed still shines. That makes sense for a group that needed speed on the outside. That speed means he can work on an island in man coverage, which fits what the Steelers want to do with Joey Porter Jr. on the outside.

According to Sports Info Solutions, Jackson allowed a 101.4 passer rating and 8.1 yards per attempt when targeted. Those are not great numbers. He only played in man coverage 33% of the time last season, so that could hike up significantly and be where room for upside in the move is found.

Now, they will ask him to be the CB2 across from Joey Porter Jr. Pittsburgh hopes to get better results out of their players in 2024 that are in the secondary, and it appears that Jackson is the first step to doing that.