Pros, Cons, and a Summary of William Jackson
- Ideal height at 6’0″ with above average arm length
- Great athlete; 4.37 speed
- Impressive ball skills; turns head around and can track/locate football
- Clean footwork, smooth backpedal
- Fluid hips, excellent change of direction ability
- Ability to mirror WR’s step for step
- Very good in man coverage
- Has timing and anticipation needed to jump routes
- Fantastic closing and recovery speed
- Physical, dished out several big hits
- Very little hand usage, inconsistent jam technique
- Subpar wrap-up tackling ability; tends to launch with shoulder
- Takes risks, susceptible to double-moves
- Average in zone coverage
- Can be grabby downfield, led to several penalties
There is a lot to like about William Jackson the third. He’s tall, has great length, and he’s a tremendous athlete. Those physical tools offer a lot of upside, but he’s much more than just a size/speed guy.
Jackson’s ball skills are top-notch. His ability to turn his head around, locate and track the football and then make a play on it, are outstanding. His film is filled with impressive interceptions and pass deflections. He recorded an incredible 21 pass deflections in 2015.
Another aspect that makes his ball skills so great are his timing and anticipation. Combined with his 4.37 speed, he is able to jump routes and make plays on a consistent basis.
Also, his footwork/backpedal is smooth and he has fluid hips that give him ideal change of direction ability. This allows him to be an excellent man-cover corner, and he often mirror’s WR’s step for step.
Jackson allowed only 40% of passes thrown his way to be completed in his last two seasons, which is a very good number. Many of those passes seemed to come on short, quick passes, and Jackson was rarely beat deep.
He’s a bit on the skinny side, but he is plenty capable of playing physical. He dished out a handful of big hits and he actively seeks out contact.
While his coverage ability overall is very impressive, there are a few areas to work on.
He doesn’t use his hands enough to jam WR’s and when he does, his technique is inconsistent. He showed that he is capable of being physical, so if he can just work on hand placement in the WR’s chest, this will get much better.
As already mentioned, Jackson has excellent anticipation and ability to time routes and break on the ball, but the downside of this is falling for double-moves, which does happen from time to time. He also has mixed ability in zone, and could improve his spatial awareness; meaning putting himself in better position and knowing where WR’s are behind him.
Downfield, Jackson can be a bit grabby and combined with an aggressive play style, he did draw a handful of pass interference penalties. So this is something he’ll need to clean up.
The last thing he’ll need to improve his tackling, specifically when it comes to wrapping-up. He can launch his shoulder and dish out big hits, but he isn’t a fundamentally sound tackler and misses more than you would like.
All in all, I came away very impressed with Jackson. He isn’t as raw of a prospect as many scouting reports indicate, and definitely should be drafted at some point in the first-round.
He would not at all be a bad pick for the Raiders at #14. I’ve been a big Mackensie Alexander advocate throughout the draft process, but I’d actually prefer Jackson between the two.
Comparing Jackson to the rest of the draft class, I still prefer Elliott, Hargreaves, Chris Jones, Rankins, Lawson and probably Nkemdiche, but I’d slot Jackson in next. He’s a top 15 player in this draft class.