TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- When Eddie Jackson moved to safety following Alabama's first scrimmage of spring workouts, it appeared as if the Crimson Tide had given up on him as a cornerback.
Now a week into the experiment, Jackson may have found a position that better suits his skill set while also creating some flexibility on the back end of the Tide's defense.
Tide coach Nick Saban said the move has "worked out really well for us."
"Having him and Geno (Smith) back there for us gave us two guys that have played some, have experience and understand the system a little bit," Saban said after Saturday's scrimmage.
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As a sophomore last season, Jackson played in and started 11 games at cornerback. For the most part, Jackson was physical in coverage and against the run, finishing the year with 41 total tackles (32 solo stops). He also had two tackles for loss, a sack and an interception to go with six pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
But Jackson, who had knee surgery last spring, seemed to lack some of the speed he had during his freshman season, and was beat deep down the field on multiple occasions -- most notably in the 2014 Iron Bowl by Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates.
As a cornerback, defenders are often left on an island and charged with defending a wide receiver one-on-one. Safeties, however, aren't in as many one-on-one situations and are asked to help more in run support.
Saban said Jackson possesses the skills to be a safety.
"Instincts really help, and that's one thing that Eddie's always had really good football instincts and awareness," Saban said. "We'll see how this works."
Tide cornerback Cyrus Jones, who has missed spring practice with an injury, has watched Jackson make the transition, and said Jackson is a "very natural football player."
"I think he looks great back there, fluid and real comfortable," Jones said Tuesday. "He's one of those guys you can probably put anywhere on the football field and he's going to look like he's been playing it the whole season just because of how good an athlete he is and how easily he makes transitions. I think he looks real good."
Still, Jackson's move isn't a permanent one just yet. Alabama has plenty of talented cornerbacks, but most of them are young and inexperienced. Jones, Jackson and Bradley Sylve are the three with significant game experience. Tony Brown, Marlon Humphrey and Anthony Averett are three players who are developing, but aren't quite there yet, according to Saban. The development of the young players will likely determine where Jackson ends up long term.
"The experiment was to see how he'd adapt to playing safety, and that's going very well," Saban said. "So now we have the option of playing him at corner or safety. I don't think we need to make that decision right now, but I think it will be affected by how everybody else progresses."
-- Contact Anniston Star Sports Writer Marq Burnett at email@example.com. On Twitter:@Marq_Burnett.