Numbers from analytics-based website show just how special Bengals Jackson was in 2017
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - There is little doubt that Bengals cornerback William Jackson III passed the eyeball test in his first NFL season, and statistics from the analytics-based website ProFootballFocus.com back that up.
Jackson, who was the team's first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, but missed the entire 2016 season due to a torn pectoral muscle, was the second-highest graded player on the Bengals entire team in 2017, trailing only Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins.
Jackson had an 89.2 grade, while Atkins had a 91.5. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict was third at 84.7, followed by defensive end Carlos Dunlap at 84.3 and wide recevier A.J. Green at 83.5.
According to PFF, Jackson allowed the second-lowest passer rating of any outside cornerback in the NFL last season with opposing quarterbacks having just a 36.1 rating against him. Only Jacksonville's A.J. Bouye held opposing quarterbacks to a lower rating at 31.6. Bouye's figure was the lowest since PFF began grading players in 2006, while Jackson's was the fifth-lowest in that span.
Jackson was also among the top four-rated players from the draft class of 2016 with his 89.1 overall grade. The 24th overall pick in the 2016 draft trailed only Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey (94.0), Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa (91.7) and San Francisco 49ers defensive end DeForest Buckner (90.4). That means Jackson finished ahead of quarterbacks Jared Goff (81.3) and Carson Wentz (87.6).
As Local12.com Digitial Sports/Columnist Editor Richard Skinner pointed out in a column over the weekend, the Bengals should strongly consider having Jackson shadow the opposing team's best wide receiver in 2018 rather than have him line up on the same side of the field as Bengals cornerbacks have done over the last several seasons.