William Jackson, wearing jersey number 22, finally gets into the action against the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday. Photo by Michael Mitchell
By Conrad Clowers
Cincinnati Herald Contributor
When William Jackson II was the 2016 Bengals first round draft pick, many expectations were put on him as they are on any first round pick. Jackson was a dynamo for the Houston Cougars in college. He would tally eight interceptions and 115 tackles before it was all over. Jackson even set a single-game record with seven pass breakups in an American Athletic Championship game against Temple. Being a top-flight athlete started even before Jackson was in college. In high school, Jackson was a two-way standout at Wheatley High School. He would become first team all district as a junior and senior.
The former Cougar was ready to make an impact for the Bengals after such high expectations in college. The lucky streak came to an end for Jackson early in his first mini-camp with the Bengals. On an August 1, 2016, training camp practice Jackson would tear his pectoral muscle. It would end what many hoped would be a promising rookie season. Jackson did not allow the setback to deter his impact on the team. The Houston native worked hard during the off season to get back to full strength. A year of waiting finally came to an end this past Sunday. Jackson and his team was battered on the opening weekend of the NFL for 2017. The Baltimore Ravens came to town on a mission. The Bengals division rivals left home with a 20-0 win. Though the bitter taste of the loss was hard to take, it was the end of a long journey for Jackson. The former Houston standout recorded two tackles in his first professional game.
Jackson is in the mix of a formidable quad of Bengal cornerbacks that includes Dre Kirkpatrick, Darquez Dennard, and Adam Pacman Jones. Jackson got his first start in his first game due to the suspension of Adam Jones. The second-year player could hold his own against Baltimore receivers. That was the good news. The not so good news is that Jackson will face far more challenging wide receivers as the season goes along. He will likely be relegated to slot corner duty as Jones moves back into the starting corner position opposite Kirkpatrick when off suspension. “I just have to be ready whenever my number is called and keep getting better,” says Jackson.
Cincinnati will have a short week to think about the loss with the Baltimore Ravens as they will face off against the Houston Texans. For William Jackson there will be nothing better than being part of his first professional win. This coming week he will have a more difficult road in trying to contain Texan receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Braxton Miller. It would be a perfect time for Jackson III to show why he was a first round pick.