As expected, the post 2016 NFL Scouting Combine major media mock drafts are coming fast and furious. On Wednesday, Bucky Brooks of NFL Media released his latest first round prediction and while he does have the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting a cornerback 25th overall, it’s not Eli Apple or Mackensie Alexander. Instead, Brooks has the Steelers drafting Houston cornerback William Jackson III with the 25th pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Brooks writes of the Steelers selection of Jackson:
The Steelers covet long, rangy corners with ball skills and instincts to thrive in a zone-based system. Jackson is a natural ballhawk with a knack for swiping picks on tips and overthrows.
Jackson, who measured in at the combine at 6003, 189-pounds, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds. He didn’t do all of the drills in Indianapolis, however, so we’ll have to wait until his pro day in order to see what his short-shuttle, three-cone and vertical jump results wind up being.
In 2015, Jackson registered 43 total tackles, 5 interceptions and 28 passes defensed. Two of those interceptions came in Houston’s win over Florida State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Teams did not avoid throwing at Jackson last season, however, as he was targeted 100 times and gave up 43 receptions for 608 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The fact that Jackson has size, speed, experience and college production should result in him being drafted in the top 40 picks. If he’s still on the board late in the first round when the Steelers are on the clock, he certainly would be hard to pass up. With that said, it would be rare occurrence due to the fact that the organization hasn’t drafted a cornerback in the first round since 1997.