Jackson, who committed single-digit errors in each of the past two seasons at Miami, has been tabbed good enough defensively to play in the Major Leagues today.
"Some of our scouts said that," said Jeff Luhnow, the Cardinals' vice president of scouting and player development. "I think if we sent him to Double-A right now, he wouldn't skip a beat. He'd be able to handle himself defensively without any problem at all.
"In terms of his hands, his quickness and his arm, there's not a lot of guys out there that have his defensive skills."
But while his defense has been spectacular, the junior's offense hasn't been quite as good. Jackson hit just .236 as a freshman in 2007, but he earned All-American honors during his sophomore campaign, when he raised his average to .360 and led the Hurricanes with 19 doubles.
But his sophomore season appeared to be more of the exception than the norm, as he dropped back down to a .263 average with four homers, 38 runs scored and a .362 on-base percentage for Miami this spring.
"It's all about whether or not the bat will be good enough for his defense to make him a valuable contributor for us," Luhnow said. "If we are able to turn him into even just a viable offensive player, he projects to be like an Adam Everett-type defender in the big leagues, so we felt in the fifth round, it was a risk worth taking.
"It's not a no-brainer on how to fix him or how to make him better, but we absolutely think we have a shot at doing it."
Here is a breakdown of the rest of the Cardinals' picks on Day 2:
Round 4, Scott Bittle, RHP, Mississippi: Bittle was 7-1 with eight saves and a 1.78 ERA during his junior year in 2008 and was a second-round pick by the Yankees. But concerns over an injured shoulder kept him from signing, and he returned to Ole Miss for his senior season. Bittle went 5-2 with a 2.17 ERA in 45 2/3 innings, but he missed the last month of this season with more arm troubles.
Round 6, Virgil Hill, CF, Los Angeles Mission College
Cardinals -- Top five selections
|19||RHP||Shelby Miller||Brownwood HS
|67||C||Robert Stock||U Southern California
|98||RHP||Joseph Kelly||UC Riverside
|129||RHP||Joseph Bittle||U Mississippi
|159||SS||Ryan Jackson||U Miami
|Complete Cardinals Draft results >|
Round 7, Kyle Conley, RF, Washington: The 6-foot-4 Conley hit 19 home runs in both the 2008 and 2009 seasons at Washington, finishing tied for the school's career home run record with 42. He hit .303 in 161 games during his four-year college career and had a .405 on-base percentage.
Round 8, Jason Stidham, SS, Florida State: Stidham started all 63 games for the Seminoles, hitting .363 with 76 RBIs, 55 runs and 12 home runs in 223 at-bats. The FSU cleanup hitter started the season at shortstop, but he eventually moved to second base.
Round 9, Nick McCully, RHP, Coastal Carolina: McCully went 8-1 with a 2.10 ERA and eight saves in 28 appearances, including seven starts, this year. Opponents hit just .197 against him, and the right-hander had 64 strikeouts and 26 walks in 73 innings.
Round 10, Hector Hernandez, LHP, Puerto Rico BB Academy HS
Round 11, Alan Ahmady, 1B, Fresno State: Ahmady was a key component to the Bulldogs' NCAA Championship in 2008, hitting .382 with 92 RBIs, 17 doubles and 13 home runs. This spring, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Ahmady hit .326 with 53 RBIs and eight home runs, but he was suspended for undisclosed reasons and missed the WAC Tournament and NCAA Regional.
Round 12, Pat Daugherty, LHP, Pearl River CC: A puzzling pick to say the least, the Cardinals must have liked Daugherty's upside. The lefty went 1-6 with an 8.84 ERA in 31 2/3 innings for Pearl River.
Round 13, Matt Carpenter, 3B, TCU: The all-time TCU leader in games played, Carpenter hit .333 with 23 doubles and 47 RBIs in 58 games this spring. The 6-foot-3 redshirt senior had 58 runs scored and a .470 on-base percentage.
Round 14, Ross Smith, CF, Middle Georgia College
Round 15, David Washington, 1B, University City HS, California
Round 16, Daniel Bibona, LHP, UC Irvine: The 6-foot, 170-pound lefty went 12-1 with a 2.63 ERA in 106 innings for the Anteaters. The starter relies on control, and he had 108 strikeouts and held opponents to a .209 average.
Round 17, Jonathan Rodriguez, 1B, Manatee JC: The JUCO third baseman hit .360 with 10 home runs, 60 RBIs and a .463 on-base percentage in 200 at-bats this spring.
Round 18, Anthony Garcia, C, San Juan Educational School
Round 19, Travis Tartamella, C, Cal St Los Angeles: Tabbed as the seventh-best prospect for the Draft in Division II, the Pepperdine transfer hit .301 with 40 RBIs and 34 runs scored in 49 games this spring.
Round 20, Scott Schneider, RHP, St. Marys: Schneider went 6-4 with a 4.54 ERA in 75 1/3 innings this year. In 13 appearances, 12 of which were starts, Schneider had 67 strikeouts, but opponents hit .308 against him.
Round 21, Trevor Rosenthal, RHP, Cowley County CC: In 17 games, including seven starts, Rosenthal had a 2.73 ERA and 37 strikeouts. Opponents hit .236 against him.
Round 22, Joseph Bergman, 2B, College of Charleston: Bergman, the Southern Conference's Player of the Year, is second in the country with a .452 batting average. The infielder, who leads the nation with 88 runs scored, had 25 doubles and was 24-for-26 on stolen-base attempts.
Round 23, Matthew Adams, C, Slippery Rock: The two-time Division II All-American hit .495 (tops in the nation) and had 64 RBIs and 14 home runs in 184 at-bats this spring. His .566 on-base percentage ranked fifth in the country.
Round 24, Keith Butler, RHP, Wabash Valley College: In 20 appearances this year, Butler went 6-2 with a 2.72 ERA. He had 59 strikeouts and walked 15 in 43 innings.
Round 25, Josh Squatrito, RHP, Towson: The senior went 5-2 with a 5.59 ERA in 38 2/3 innings this spring. He had 45 strikeouts and eight walks while making all 24 appearances out of the bullpen.
Round 26, Christian Beatty, CF, North Carolina A&T: Beatty hit .365 with 25 doubles, eight home runs and 42 RBIs in 54 games. He drew 38 walks and had a .460 on-base percentage.
Round 27, Johnathan Folino, RHP, Connecticut: The All-Big East second teamer led the Huskies with a 6-3 record and a team-high 58 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings. In 10 starts, Folino had a 3.92 ERA.
Round 28, Justin Edwards, LHP, Kennesaw State: The left-hander went 5-4 with a 5.90 ERA in 71 innings for the Owls this spring. He had 64 strikeouts and 33 walks and opponents hit .298 against him.
Round 29, Daniel Calhoun, LHP, Murray State: Calhoun went 11-3 with a 2.32 ERA this spring. In 14 starts, the workhorse had 11 complete games .The ace had 85 strikeouts and only six walks in 97 innings.
Round 30, Christopher Corrigan, RHP, Mississippi: In the second puzzling pick of the day, Corrigan gets the call despite an 11.42 ERA in just 8 2/3 innings pitched for the Rebels. The Cardinals' final pick on Day 2 gave up 15 hits and 11 earned runs in four appearances.