Well, that’s a stab in the back with a nasty twist of the knife.
With the No. 24 overall pick in the 2016 Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Houston cornerback William Jackson III, just one pick ahead of the Steelers, possibly forcing the Steelers’ hand with the Artie Burns selection.
Jackson, who is a physical corner with great size, length and speed, is a tremendous fit with the Bengals, who were starting to get long in the tooth at cornerback.
By selecting Jackson, this marks the third time in six years — and fifth time in the last 11 years — that Cincinnati has selected a cornerback in the first round.
Dre Kirkpatrick (2012, No. 17 overall) and Darqueze Dennard (2014, No. 24 overall) are the two most recent first-round picks at corner for Cincinnati before Jackson’s name was called at No. 24 overall this year by the Bengals.
The former Cougars corner has good ball skills for the position and really packs a punch when making tackles. He’s certainly a boundary corner that has the size, speed and physicality to match most receivers in the NFL, but there are concerns with his stiff hips and lack of bend in his knees at times.
This is certainly one of the more puzzling selections in the first round as the Bengals appeared set at corner for 2016 with Kirkpatrick and Dennard expected to hold down the fort as starters, but when you’re set at one position with a deep team like the Bengals, why not add to it?
They did something similar last season by drafting offensive tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher in the first and second round last year.
Now, they’ve added to the cornerback position with one of the top defensive backs in this class.
Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis said about Jackson that, “He’ll be one of the best athletes we’ve had at the position. He fits what our defense does.”
One can expect the Bengals to continue to be a smash-mouth defense that lives off of physicality and explosiveness all over the field.
Heading into the 2016 season it certainly looks like a tall task to throw against the Bengals’ secondary, even with the loss of Reggie Nelson and Leon Hall this off-season to free agency.