Adam Jones has been suspended for the opening game of the NFL season for violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. This all stems from an altercation Jones had with security at a Cincinnati bar in January, which led to his arrest. While the suspension of the Bengals’ starting corner is certainly not a good thing for the team, it does create an interesting opportunity.
Although the Bengals’ biggest need last season was at wide receiver, a run on the position prior to their first round pick (24th overall) led the Bengals to do what Marvin Lewis loves most: draft the best available defensive player. Houston’s William Jackson III is an extremely talented corner who many believe could have gone much higher if the 2016 draft wasn’t so rich with talent at the position. At 6’0” 189lbs and running a 4.37 forty, Jackson is just the type of tall, lean smooth running corner that modern NFL teams (and particularly the Bengals) covet.
It is not just Jackson’s athletic ability that impresses. His film is equally remarkable. He plays routes well and made it extremely difficult for college quarterbacks to get completions on him. In fact, his extraordinary ball skills led to five interceptions as a senior in 2015. The Bengals thought enough of his skill to make him a first round pick despite the fact that they had already invested two recent first round picks in corners (Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard) and had veteran Adam Jones on the roster.
Unfortunately, Jackson missed all of last season after being placed on injured reserve due to a pectoral tear he suffered late in the pre-season. The temporary loss of Jones will create a window of opportunity for someone. Jackson and Dennard, along with veteran Josh Shaw, will all be vying for a chance to show what they can do starting opposite Kirkpatrick. While Jackson’s NFL career did not get the fast start he was hoping for, this could be an opportunity for him to get back on track.
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