Lions cornerback Jerry Jacobs was Pro Football Focus’ top-graded rookie UDFA in 2021
A surprising piece of a solid 2021 rookie class for the Lions, Jerry Jacobs was graded by Pro Football Focus as their top rookie UDFA.
An undrafted free agent out of the University of Arkansas last spring, Jerry Jacobs navigated an uphill climb to earn a spot on the Detroit Lions’ 53-man roster out of training camp. But he was not anywhere near done proving himself.
Jacobs played just 21 defensive snaps over the first four games of the season (18 in Week 4). But then his role changed dramatically, as injuries thinned Detroit’s cornerback ranks. He started the next eight games as an outside corner, playing more than 85 percent of the snaps in seven of those games, with seven pass breakups and 32 total tackles in that span.
Jacobs’ promising rookie campaign ended abruptly with a torn ACL very early in Week 14 against the Denver Broncos. But his contributions to a well-regarded Lions’ 2021 rookie class have been noted in review, and now he’s gotten a noteworthy individual accolade from Pro Football Focus.
Jerry Jacobs was PFF’s top-graded rookie UDFA in 2021
That 65.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus put Jacobs fifth among all rookie cornerbacks in 2021. Three of the four above him were first-round picks (h/t to Lions Wire), with the fourth (Nate Hobbs of the Las Vegas Raiders) a fifth-round pick. Overall, Jacobs graded out as the 17th-best rookie defensive player. Those standings among rookie corners and rookie defenders stood a chance to be even better if he had played more than 13 games (or eight with significant action, really).
Jacobs won’t be ready to play until pretty well into next season as he works his way back from that torn ACL, and there’s some chance he doesn’t play at all next season. But he showed he belongs in the NFL as an undrafted rookie, and he’s got a place in the future of the defense in Detroit.