BOSTON (CBS) — As it stands right now, the Patriots and their No. 1 cornerback are at odds. Whether or not a resolution is made with the disgruntled Stephon Gilmore and the team before camp opens next week remains to be seen.

But if Gilmore embarks on a holdout from Foxboro, J.C. Jackson is prepared to fill the void.

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The 25-year-old cornerback is entering his fourth NFL season, after going undrafted out of Maryland. He’s coming off a nine-interception season, and he has the confidence to be a No. 1 cornerback in the NFL.

“Of course I am,” Jackson answered when asked by NFL Network’s Mike Giardi if he’s a No. 1 corner. “I would never settle for less. I would never say I’m No. 2, No. 3. I’m No. 1.”

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While Jackson has come a long way since the spring of 2018, he has certainly benefited from working alongside Stephon Gilmore — the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year — in the meeting rooms and on the practice field. In fact, Jackson made it quite clear that he knows how good he’s had it in terms of having a teammate of that caliber to learn from and emulate.

“I mean, he was very helpful for me because even, especially in the meeting rooms, watching the film, I mean I sit right beside him and try to copy his notes,” Jackson told Giardi. “That’s how crazy it is. That’s how much I look up to him.”

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Whether or not Jackson ascends to the top tier of NFL cornerbacks in terms of being a lockdown, No. 1 guy? There’s work to be done in that area. But there’s no doubt that the young man has got the confidence required for the position.

CBSBoston.com Staff