William Jackson III, Cornerback
6’1″ 185 lbs.
- Good Length
- Smooth Backpedal
- Excels in off-man coverage
- Good speed – Recovery ability & closing
- Ball skills
- Aggressive – Wants to make the splash play
- Doesn’t jam receivers well
- Can get beat being over aggressive
- Run defense – Wants to lay guys out too often
- Doesn’t shed blocks well
- What’s his real measurables?
It’s clear right away that Jackson III has very solid size and length for a CB. His stock may be affected a tiny bit by his combine weigh in one way or another. I’ve seen him listed anywhere from 6’0″ 175 lbs to 6’2″ 195 lbs. Regardless of what he measures at, he is a good sized cornerback, and uses his long arms well.
On the tape, Houston rarely lined up Jackson closer than 8 yards from the line of scrimmage. He plays a lot of off-man coverage, and zone concepts. I’d label him a “zone corner” but when tasked, he was able to stick to receivers well.
Jackson’s speed is evident in his ability to recover when he gets behind in coverage, and also when he comes up to make a hit on a ball carrier or receiver. In coverage, he tracks the ball in the air very well and is able to take advantage of his length by contacting the ball at it’s highest point; as evidenced by his whopping 23 pass breakups in 2015. His aggressive nature will lead to interceptions and big plays, but can also lead to him biting on pump fakes and stutter steps.
He isn’t a guy that’s going to line up right on top of a receiver and “lock him down.” He doesn’t use his hands well in jamming at the line. His tackling is aggressive but he needs to stop trying to lay people out or strip them and wrap up.
How he Fits (or doesn’t) with the Steelers
Let me just start by saying this is my favorite prospect for the Steelers that I’ve broken down so far. There’s been plenty of talk about Eli Apple at 25, and he’s probably more likely given his youth and the fact that he played in a power 5 conference… but I prefer Jackson for this system.
It seems every year there’s some press man cornerback that everyone mocks to the Steelers that they pass on. Jackson though, fits what the Steelers want to do defensively. He can play off the line of scrimmage, keep the play in front of him, and come downhill quickly on underneath passes. What he can do that nobody on the roster currently can is matchup with a big receiver down the field and make a play on the ball. Despite many grading him as a 2nd or 3rd rounder, I see 1st round talent here.
Draft Range Prediction
Late 1st-Early 2nd