With William Jackson III now fully healthy, the Cincinnati Bengals can field a top-10 secondary in 2020 and beyond.
This week has revealed quite a bit of information about the Cincinnati Bengals’ number one outside corner, William Jackson III. According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, the talented defensive back played all of last season with a torn labrum. On top of that, the Bengals’ front office turned down multiple other franchises that were interested in acquiring Jackson via a trade.
That’s quite a bit of news all at once on the former first-round pick and it certainly gives some clarity on his situation.
First, his dip in play can likely be attributed to the injury he suffered through. Prior to last season, he looked to be on the verge of becoming a bonafide lockdown corner.
Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, Cincinnati still clearly values the speedster, despite acquiring several key secondary players this offseason. The Bengals have never been an organization with an affinity to pull off trades but the fact that they dismissed dealing Jackson when he is on the brink of demanding a large contract in free agency is telling.
The future is bright with William Jackson
If the Bengals come to a long-term agreement with the former Houston corner soon (an arrangement Jackson has said he wants to see come to fruition), the future is bright for the Cincinnati secondary.
Jackson has proven he can shut down opponent’s elite wide receiver options. Perhaps the best example of this is his work against Antonio Brown while he was still in his prime with the Steelers.
On the opposite of him, the Bengals wield Trae Waynes, a corner with the speed to match up against any threat that lines up across from him. His tremendous man-to-man coverage ability gives defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo the ability to put him and Jackson on an island and focus the other personnel elsewhere.
If that weren’t enough, Cincinnati has a trio of very good safeties to patrol the backend. Jessie Bates III is on the brink of turning into a superstar, Vonn Bell is a fierce leader that has a knack for generating turnovers, and Shawn Williams is a swiss army knife that gives the team the ability to matchup extraordinarily well.
Finally, they’ve got Darius Phillips in the pipeline. Towards the end of last season, he began to show flashes of greatness. If he continues his upward trend, the Bengals can have a top-10 secondary as soon as this upcoming year.
The defensive line has long been the strength of the orange and black. However, the secondary is shaping up to take that title, which is obviously good news for the Bengals that find themselves in a pass-happy league.