Saved by Saban
Boos for nothing: Texans make right draft call with Kareem Jackson
Kareem Jackson isn't Donovan McNabb. Cornerbacks are a far cry from quarterbacks in terms of being difference makers — even in today's NFL, where defending the pass is more essential than ever. No. 20 overall picks are not in the same talent league as No. 2 overall selections either.
Still, just as Eagles fans were proven wrong for the most famous booing in NFL Draft history, the loudest draft booing at a Houston Texans' draft party that anyone can remember will turn out to be a mistake.
The reaction in the Verizon Wireless West Club at Reliant Stadium at Jackson's name being called as the Texans' first-round pick bordered on the hysterically insane. You would have thought that Jackson had been with Ben Roethlisberger in that nightclub (he wasn't) or showed up at his draft party in a Cowboys hat (he didn't). The boos rang out that loud and focused.
Why? Because the Texans didn't take Devin McCourty or Kyle Wilson — two players that most Texan fans hadn't even heard of before local media outlets began to falsely hype them as leading team targets?
There's no guarantee that Jackson will make a difference on the Texans' still woeful defense, but he comes into the NFL with a great advantage: He played cornerback for Nick Saban. Alabama's new and much improved Bear Bryant isn't just the best coach in college football. He's a defensive back savant. There is no position that Saban is better at teaching, no spot on the football field that he is more obsessed with. When you play cornerback for Saban, you're well taught enough to give many NFL veterans a lecture in technique.
I covered Nick Saban back when he was a very under-appreciated head coach at Michigan State. He doesn't suffer fools at defensive back. If you're playing cornerback for Saban, you've received more personal attention than a billionaire's problem child.
Jackson is up for the job, more than ready to swat away the silly boos. There are coaches that gush and then there's Saban, who gives out compliments as begrudgingly as he accepts Gatorade cooler showers. And Saban nearly emotes when he talks about Jackson's leadership ability.
It won't be long before anyone who booed Jackson's name tonight at the West Club pretends it was somebody next to them who opened his mouth.