The Patriots have a history of getting a large return on investment for late round and undrafted players. Former Terp JC Jackson, who went to New England as an undrafted free agent, could be the latest example of this.
The final week of preseason is essential for players trying to make their teams' 53-man rosters and that's where Jackson shined.
The cornerback picked off Giants quarterback Kyle Lauletta twice and added two pass breakups before leaving the game in the third quarter with leg cramps.
Behind starters Stephon Gilmore, Eric Rowe, Jonathan Jones and Duke Dawson, Jackson is competing with with fellow rookie Keion Crossen, veteran Jason McCourty, Ryan Lewis and Jomal Wiltz for a roster spot. He might have ensured his spot with his performance Thursday.
After starting his college career at Florida, Jackson ended up at Maryland following off-the-field issues in Gainesville and a pit stop at Riverside Community College. In April we wrote a feature on Jackson's life and career which you can read here.
Over two seasons at Maryland, Jackson recorded 80 tackles, four interceptions and 13 pass breakups. Jackson was expected to be a late-round pick but ultimately wound up being undrafted before eventually being scooped up by the Patriots.
From a longshot to a near lock for the roster, Jackson is being deemed an undrafted gem by many around the organization, including Boston Globe writer Jim McBride. As long as cramps don't hold him back more, he can have a chance to prove that.