Cornerback is arguably one of the deepest positions in the 2012 draft. Asa "Ace" Jackson of Cal Poly is a testament to that depth and could be a nice sleeper pick for a team in need (Colts).
Jackson was a four-year starter, racking up 199 tackles, 8 interceptions, and 32 pass break ups through those four seasons. Jackson is a fast, athletic corner that has had success thorughout his career in multiple areas. During his senior effort, Jackson was one of the nation's top punt returners, averaging 18 yards per return and left Cal Poly with its all-time best return average (14.7). He's known for his quickness, but somewhat underwhelmed at the Combine with a 4.49 40. However, at his Pro Day (March 6th) in California, Jackson cut five hundredths off of his 40 and jumped 3" (34.5-37.5) higher in the vertical. This guy can get up.
Needless to say, his Pro Day efforts certainly helped his draft prospects after what many viewed as an otherwise strong Combine.
Jackson is one of those prospects that you can envision being a steal in the later rounds, but he is just raw enough to raise some reasonable doubt. Some notable knocks are his tendency to get beat, physicality, short arms, and the fact that he comes from a small school. Jackson's route recognition, specifically on short routes underneath, leave something to be desired -- He can fall victim to a self-imposed, rather sizable cushion.
He may not be your prototypical corner, but he does have certain intangibles (ST, nickel efficiency) that will make him a flexible option in the NFL. When Jackson struggles with opponents, he relies on his speed/flexibility to quickly recover and usually succeeds in doing so. Furthermore, one of the strongest areas of his game are his quick feet (strong back pedal). He has excellent footwork complimented by quick bursts to the ball.
So, while it's hard to say what Jackson will evolve into at the next level (that goes for every prospect), it's clear that he possesses the athletic ability to be a difference maker. Whether or not he finds himself will likely depend on a favorable system and consistent coaching.
An intriguing small-school corner with some natural fluidity, foot quickness and ball skills. Plays bigger than his frame would suggest because of length and at worst looks like a potential slot defender at the next level.
Quick-footed, speedy, fluid, highly athletic small-school nickel back and punt returner with intriguing physical ability despite being undersized and underpowered. Has moldable tools and upside if his technique and instincts come along.