The Cincinnati Bengals selected William Jackson III in the first round of this years draft. It has had mixed reviews from media members around the NFL. There are some who believe he could be the replacement for Adam Jones, eventually, while others think it was a move to keep him away from the Steelers:
The biggest question though comes in the form of the upcoming 2016 season. What are the Bengals going to do with a fourth corner?
First, the Bengals have a corner reportedly coming off of shoulder surgery in Dre Kirkpatrick, according to Coley Harvey of ESPN.com. Although he is expected to fully be ready for the season, even by organized team workouts, there could always be set backs or even reoccurring injuries.
Second, depth, who can forget the Bengals missing, Reggie Nelson, Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard injured for or during the Wild Card game against the Steelers. Another solid corner would have allowed Adam Jones some help on the outside with his top two guys already sidelined.
Finally, two players are fighting against time. Adam Jones isn’t getting younger, 32, and Dre Kirkpatrick is entering the final year of his rookie deal. If one or both players break down or even end their relationship with the Bengals, they are not stranded, almost like it felt with Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu this off-season.
If you think back to the Bengals selections in the 2015 NFL Draft, picking Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher with their first two picks, people felt a little confused. Two tackles in the first two rounds, especially with Andre Smith and Andrew Whitworth, both still on the roster.
Fast forward to the 2016 Draft and the Bengals picked up a corner with their first round draft. They needed a wide receiver, which they got, defensive tackle, they got that, line backer, got that, interior offensive lineman, got that. They needed a corner for depth, they needed it for future security, and ultimately, to make their secondary younger now.
Remember, the Bengals had a number one receiver, they have two starting defensive tackles, they still have a young center and two capable offensive guards. Dre Kirkpatrick has looked better last season but still Darqueze Dennard’s injury concerns are still very real.
William Jackson III should bring some solid zone passing defense skills and should be an upgrade to the back of this wide receiver depth in year one and could be more over the next few season.