Kareem Jackson is entering his ninth season with the Texans.
He’s logged 108 starts and shares the franchise lead in interceptions (14) with Johnathan Joseph. But like many of his compatriots on defense, you can’t truly pigeonhole Jackson with the label of “cornerback”.
“You never know where I’ll end up, day-to-day,” Jackson said after Tuesday’s minicamp practice.
Since joining the Texans as a first round draft pick in 2010, Jackson’s played outside at corner. He’s guarded slot receivers on the inside. In May and June he’s flashed more versatility by showing he can play some safety.
“This spring’s been good for me,” Jackson said. “I’m learning a new position. For me it’s just all about coming out and getting better each and every day.”
Head coach Bill O’Brien has often emphasized the importance of being able to play multiple positions.
"The more you can do, the more jobs that you can fill, whether it’s in the defense or special teams, the better your team is going to be and the more value you’re going to have to the roster,” O'Brien said.
Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel has been creative in deploying his players in many different spots. As an example, outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus has lined up over the center, over a tackle, and even gone downfield in coverage.
Jackson’s capable of playing multiple spots as well, and explained the challenge of working some at safety.
“Switching my mind to the things that need to be done when playing that position,” Jackson said. “Whether it’s technique, or making the calls, or trying to put guys in the right spot. Before when I was playing corner, you were waiting to get the call. But now, playing safety you have to give the call.”
Without Andre Hal on the field, Jackson joins Tyrann Mathieu, Justin Reid, Corey Moore, Ibraheim Campbell and Treston Decoud in the mix at safety.