NFL draft profile: Houston CB William Jackson III, a true ballhawk (Shutdown Corner)

Shutdown Corner is counting down the top 50 prospects in the 2016 NFL draft with a scouting report, quotes from NFL evaluators and a projection where they might be drafted. 26. Houston CB-S William Jackson III 6-foot-0, 189 pounds Key stat : Led NCAA and set school record for pass breakups in 2015 with an incredible 23. Also added five interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. [ Follow Yahoo Sports draft expert Eric Edholm on Facebook and Twitter ] The skinny : Long-armed press- or off-man cover corner who likely projects to playing on the outside in the NFL. After a year at junior college as a non-qualifier out of high school, Jackson joined the Cougars and started for parts of the past three seasons as one of the more productive defensive backs in the country in terms of breaking up passes. He really put himself on the map this past season with a great individual effort in Houston’s incredible season. A bit of that momentum was stalled, however, down the stretch. Jackson suffered an MCL injury against Cincinnati, didn’t play in the Memphis game and was used sparingly against Navy (didn’t start; zero tackles) two games later because of their run-heavy attack. Jackson was the Peach Bowl MVP in the win over Florida State, but he later pulled out of the Senior Bowl because of the knee and was unable to complete the NFL combine workout because of cramping. Jackson did finish those tests at his pro day, and he fared well. Podcast: NFL Draft Week 4 preview — Wide Receivers: Grandstanding: A Yahoo Sports podcast Subscribe via iTunes or via RSS feed Best-suited destination: Teams seeking long man corners are going to love Jackson’s skill set. He also projects as an outside corner, and he appears to work best against the taller, more vertical receivers, and that’s not an assignment every corner can handle. Teams such as the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Rams, Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans might be good fits for Jackson. Reason he’ll rise in draft : The need for longer corners is high, and more teams are playing man coverage in the league these days. He can press, flip his hips and run, with great makeup speed. Of all the top corners this year, especially with Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey and Clemson’s Mackensie Alexander, there’s shockingly little ball production, but that’s not Jackson’s issue. He’s a playmaker, which is something that often translates well to the NFL. Reason he’ll fall in draft : Jackson also is a gambler who can be beat on double moves, and he’s not an NFL-grade tackler yet. Plus, smaller, quicker receivers have given him fits before, so he might be pigeonholed into a pretty specific role in the NFL in a man-heavier scheme, which might eliminate a few teams, even if they feel they need a cornerback. Some teams have high grades on him, but there’s a pretty wide range of opinions on Jackson in NFL circles. Scouting hot take : “I see why you like him, but you have to look at the big picture there. We drafted a kid similar to him a few years ago, and it took him a year, really two years, to figure it out. I wouldn’t be counting on [Jackson] starting Day 1.” — AFC college scouting director Player comp : Trae Waynes Expected draft range : Early second round Previous profiles 50. Ohio State WR Braxton Miller 49. Indiana OT Jason Spriggs 48. Florida DL Jonathan Bullard 47. Texas Tech OT Le’Raven Clark 46. Arkansas TE Hunter Henry 45. Oklahoma WR Sterling Shepard 44. Michigan State QB Connor Cook 43. West Virginia S Karl Joseph 42. Michigan State DE-OLB Shilique Calhoun 41. Notre Dame WR Will Fuller 40. Pitt WR Tyler Boyd 39. Oklahoma State DE Emmanuel Ogbah 38. Alabama DE-DT A’Shawn Robinson 37. Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott 36. Memphis QB Paxton Lynch 35. Alabama C Ryan Kelly 34. Louisiana Tech DT Vernon Butler 33. Ole Miss DT Robert Nkemdiche 32. Georgia DE-OLB Leonard Floyd 31. USC S-LB Su’a Cravens 30. Alabama LB Reggie Ragland 29. Mississippi State DT-DE Chris Jones 28. Baylor NT Andrew Billings 27. Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith More on NFL prospects – – – – – – – Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm

from Yahoo Sports



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