Barnwell, an NFL analyst for ESPN, revealed his (unofficial) picks Thursday, with two weeks remaining in the regular season, and Jackson joined Trevon Diggs of the Dallas Cowboys and A.J. Terrell of the Atlanta Falcons as the first-team representatives at cornerback.
Barnwell described Jackson as being “somewhere between those two extremes” after highlighting Diggs’ propensity for intercepting passes and Terrell’s knack for locking down one half of the field despite fewer splash plays.
“The Patriots played more zone than in years past during their seven-game winning streak, but when they’ve been in man coverage, they’ve been more comfortable letting Jackson take the other team’s top receiver now that Stephon Gilmore is in Carolina,” Barnwell wrote. “Jackson, a 2018 undrafted free agent, is tied for the league lead alongside Diggs with 21 pass breakups.”
Jalen Ramsey of the Los Angeles Rams narrowly missed the cut, according to Barnwell. Instead, Ramsey landed among Barnwell’s second-team cornerbacks, joining Marshon Lattimore of the New Orleans Saints and Kenny Moore of the Indianapolis Colts.
It’s worth noting one Patriots player made Barnwell’s All-Pro second team: safety Adrian Phillips.
Jordan Poyer of the Buffalo Bills and Budda Baker of the Arizona Cardinals were Barnwell’s first-team reps at safety, with Phillips joining Kevin Byard of the Tennessee Titans on the second team.
“Byard is a much more complete player now than when he made the All-Pro team in 2017, while Phillips has gone from being a special-teamer to a complete safety and Patrick Chung clone for the Patriots,” Barnwell wrote.
All told, it isn’t too surprising to see the Patriots have such little representation in Barnwell’s All-Pro exercise. Because while New England has been good this season, entering Week 17 with a 9-6 record and eyeing an AFC playoff spot, the whole has been greater than the sum of its parts.