One cornerback rising up the draft boards for a number of teams is William Jackson III out of Houston, who has already visited with the Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams & Jacksonville Jaguars.
Until not too long ago, Jackson was thought of as someone who’d be a late first round pick or early second. But he’s been impressive in his workouts and meetings with teams, leading many to believe he just might be the second cornerback to be selected in the draft after Jalen Ramsey of Florida State, which means Vernon Hargreaves of Florida slightly losing draft stock. But who soon will Jackson get picked?
The Raiders have the 14th overall pick, Baltimore are 6th, Cincinnati are 24th, Rams have the first pick and Jacksonville are 5th. The two teams that look like they’re in the best position to snag him are the Raiders and Bengals, but draft day moves up and down are completely possible, although Jackson didn’t look like that great of a prospect after finishing his college career, which started at Trinity Valley Junior College.
He didn’t let a knee injury make him miss too many games in 2015, playing in 12 of Houston’s 13, leading the nation in passes defended with 23, picking off five passes and returning two of them for touchdowns. He was named to the American Conference second team for a second straight year.
Jackson is a tall cornerback (6’0) with pretty impressive length who has no speed problems. The issue with him is his physical play, or lack of it sometimes. That’s not too big of an issue – it’s something that can be embedded in a player. But for those looking for a cornerback who can jump right in to a defense and start locking down receivers, Jackson isn’t that type of player. He’ll struggle in press coverages and probably needs a year or maybe more of learning how this works in the NFL before he can become a much more productive and complete starter for the team that selects him.