Zierlein 2016 Mock Draft 5.0: Steelers Select Houston CB William Jackson III 25th Overall

Houston - William Jackson III

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com is the latest major media member to release a mock of the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft and after previously having the Pittsburgh Steelers drafting Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch with the 25th overall selection in round-one, he now has them taking Houston cornerback William Jackson III in his latest offering.

Zierlein writes of his selection for the Steelers:

Let’s see, size (check). Speed (check). Ball skills (check). Pittsburgh needs immediate cover help and Jackson’s combine has him on the radar for every team.

Interesting enough, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told the media a few days ago that he will be in Houston on Thursday for the school’s annual pro day in order to watch Jackson go through his workout. Jackson, who measured in at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine at 6003, 189-pounds, reportedly ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash while in Indianapolis. While he isn’t likely to run the 40 again at his pro day, Jackson is expected to vertical jump on Thursday in addition to doing the short-shuttle and 3-cone drills being as he chose not to do those at the combine. He’s also expected to go through position drills.

Last season, Jackson registered 43 total tackles, 5 interceptions and 23 passes defensed, according to ESPN.com. According to numbers compiled by STATS, Jackson was targeted 100 times last season and gave up 43 receptions with 3 of those ending up as touchdowns.

Since right before the combine took place, it’s been speculated that Jackson could hear his name called during the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. When it comes to the Steelers possibly drafting Jackson in the first round, not only would it be rarity because of the organization having not drafted a cornerback in the first round since 1997, they also haven’t drafted a player in round-one that hasn’t played for a school that participated in one of the Power 5 conferences since 2004 when they selected quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

It will be interesting to see if the Steelers bring Jackson to Pittsburgh for a pre-draft visit in April.

2016 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Houston CB William Jackson III

  • JNick

    Finally someone gets it right 😉

  • Jared Gallagher

    definitetly better than his last pick in Paxton lynch

  • Big Joe

    Still don’t see Jackson as a rd 1 pick but more rd 2. We’ll see

  • Tim Goetz

    Give me CB Alexander in the first. Karl Joseph in the second

  • PittsburghSports

    Not only is a non-Power 5 conference player a rarity in rd 1, but it’s also a rarity in rd 2. 2004 was also the last time the Steelers made a selection like that. Probably because we were burnt more times than not in recent history.

    Ben Roethlisberger, Miami(OH) rd. 1, 2004
    Ricardo Colclough from Tusculum rd. 2, 2004
    Troy Edwards, Louisiana Tech rd. 1, 1999
    Scott Shields, Weber St. rd. 2, 1999
    Will Blackwell, San Diego St. rd. 2, 1997
    Jamie Stephens, North Carolina A&T rd. 1, 1996
    Eric Green, Liberty rd. 1, 1990
    Aaron Jones, E. Kentucky rd. 1, 1988

  • Nolrog

    I think these guys change their picks for no other reason than so the mock X+1 is different than mock x.

  • Ike Evans

    Ill give it to this guy tho….hes had jackson to us a few times b4 but thats DEFINATELY wat these guys do

  • Ike Evans

    He’s better then apple, alexander, and fuller to me

  • PaeperCup

    Thank goodness it wasn’t another Eli Apple projection

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I’m cool with this only if Alexander is off the board, and even so I trust what the Steelers do whole heartedly! Did we talk to him at the combine?

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    What do you like better about him? #curious

  • Consistent

    I been hearing this guy’s name alot,as far as Steeler fans liking him,I see why he’s so impressive…I wonder what his warts are

  • Ike Evans

    He has better size, speed, fluidity, better scheme fit for us and better ball skills then alexander

    He has better ball skills, better feet,
    and is way more physical then apple

    And he is way less tight in the hips/more fluid, more of a playmaker, and has better ball skills then fuller

    Played against lower comp but even when he did play against good teams he played tremendously…..plays too high at times….and hes a gambler….going for the big play or tracking the ball sometimes gets him into trouble…i think hed be better in our scheme then he would in a press man roll like a team like san diego employs….

  • Phillip Dssturk Dobrensky

    Personally I like his speed, height/length. Every thing else is coaching.

  • Sdale

    I’d love that…but I doubt we’ll be that lucky.

  • Sdale

    Ike, does it concern you that he gave up a 43% completion percentage? I like him better than these other guys too, but that seems like a high number. I’m warming up to Alexander…was it really bad ball skills for him, or just no one throwing at him?

  • Brian Tollini

    Jamie Stephens. I was 14 at the time and I still remember asking my Dad after the pick if he ever heard of him. Baaaaaad selection there.

  • Brian Tollini

    His bowl game against Florida St is impressive.

  • Brian Miller

    He did look great at the combine, very fluid…

  • Phillip Dssturk Dobrensky

    All these guys are good however, I’m looking for a guy with speed, height/length with ball skills and is better in our zone schemes, but can also play man if asked. He also needs to be available at 25. My biggest hope is we take the best 1 available at 25.

  • Ike Evans

    Nah…its actually really good for a guy who saw alot of balls thrown his way….95 i think in all….and only allowed 2 TDs all year and one might have been the best catch of the year. The thing about alexander is hes a good cover guy…but thats it…he and fuller suffer from the same issue they dont even bother getting there head around…especially fuller…that kid KILLS me…hes RIGHT there…does everything right.. Has all that athleticism but just doesnt get his head around…kills me…alexander just isnt a playmaker imo…hes simply a cover guy and theres nothing wrong with that but for our scheme…he doesnt bring much else to the table so i rate guys higher but i think hes going to be good…reminds me of buster skrine….sorry to be long winded but for example…..i watch a guy like cameron Sutton from tennessee….nobody throws to that kid….alabama evem avoided him…hes the best kept secret in the country….but when i watch him…he has ball skills….easy ball skills that remind me of revis in new york…where if u throw that way youre almost expecting that kid to be breakin up the pass…of not pickin it off…with alexander its not the same even tho hes always in the hip pocket of the corner….hes not even trying to make the play on the ball cuz hes so locked into his man…

  • Tom Jackson

    With all due respect but I don’t know why it’s even a discussion. There are exeptions to the rule. If Jackson has the skills and the talent in the steelers eyes he’s in play at 25. It’s not like thats a one in a million. Also nobody is saying that it would be very likely he gets picked if he’s there. But a compelling option from the outside looking in at that spot. He fills a major need on our squad, he’s a physical freak and he’s got good tape out there, all be it that it’s mostly not against great CFB competition.

    Just because the steelers aren’t often falling in love with a small school kid doesn’t mean they can’t with William Jackson. Nor does it indicate the likelyhood of it that much. And I do realise that you aren’t necessarily making that point but people who argued about it in past months did it way to strong IMO. History isn’t a strong point to make in an isolated case with known exeptions in the past.

  • JM_3

    Thoughts??

    25: R1P25
    CB MACKENSIE ALEXANDER
    CLEMSON

    58: R2P27
    DT CHRIS JONES
    MISS. STATE

    89: R3P26
    S VONN BELL
    OHIO STATE

    124: R4P25
    DE CARL NASSIB
    PENN STATE

    221: R6P45
    ILB TRAVIS FEENEY
    WASHINGTON

    230: R7P8
    QB VERNON ADAMS
    OREGON

    247: R7P25
    WR JAKEEM GRANT
    TEXAS TECH

  • Tim Goetz

    All be it

  • Xclewsive

    I believe Billings if available will be drafted over any CB not named Hargreaves.

    Also Kendall Fuller seems like one of those injured players the steelers normally get a steal on draft day.

  • The Chin

    While I like this guy better than any other corner in the draft not named Hargreaves or Ramsey, I agree that the big fella if he’s there at 25 will wear Steeler hat when Roger announces the pick.

  • Tim Goetz

    Alexander’s ball skills are fine. He smothers receivers. Unlike Jackson who likes to bait qb’s into throwing his way. The difference is Jackson will get more picks but give up lots of receptions. And is very vulnerable to double moves.Alexander will get less picks but will give up less receptions. It boils down to which style fits best. I think gay and golston already play the style of Jackson. That’s why I think Alexander is the better fit.

  • Steve Johnson

    I’m with you on that one, Rd 1? No. Rd 2? If he’s still there, maybe.

  • Steve Johnson

    Hmm! I don’t know about that, everybody seems to have fallen in love with McAlexander. Apple and Jackson ran pretty well at the combine.

  • Jeremy McClurg

    Alexander doesn’t belong in the first 2 rounds IMO

  • Jeremy McClurg

    If teams were smart, Joseph wouldn’t be picked outside of the top 20 picks, but teams aren’t smart.

  • Tim Goetz

    Hopefully they stay dumb

  • thomas hmmmm

    I have to agree with you it’s the size and ball skills that makes me like WJIII over Alexander.. If Alexander were 2 inches taller I think I would take him regardless of his lack of picks but he’s not..
    Apple shouldn’t even be in the conversation of top of the bottom of the first tier cb’s in this class.

  • PittsburghSports

    lol yeah that had to be the Steelers worst selection I can ever remember. It should be Jamain. It autocorrected on me.

  • PittsburghSports

    It’s a discussion because it’s fun to look at trends and build criteria to project future picks.

  • ccsteeler

    Hopefully the Steelers staff will do their due diligence with whichever CB they select and we won’t see a repeat of the Shamarko (doesn’t get it above the neck) scenario. I’m sure Shamarko looked great on tape too, and has great physical skills. But all of that is wasted if a player can’t figure out the play book.

  • Brian Tollini

    Worst one I remember.

  • Shane Mitchell

    I don’t know about this guy, he looks stiff in his game film to me, and have read some scouting reports that he makes mistakes with play recognition, if he struggles with the mental part of the game his physical skills wont matter because the coaches wont put him out on the field.

    I view him as a high risk pick in the first round, same way I view all the other CBs first round except VHIII

  • popsiclesticks

    If Fuller had a different last name I think he’d be looked at as a rd. 3-4 type prospect.

  • Ike Evans

    Lol…..probably right but i can see the hype…hes a real good player that flashes elite but those hips …smh scare me…in the open field he looked like Michael jordan getting crossed over by allen iverson in that all star game lol

  • Tim Goetz

    I wish the combine didn’t exist. I for sure do not like players that shoot up the board after the combine. If a player is a 3rd rounder on tape he is still a third rounder after he ran a 4.4 and jumped 10’6″. Game speed and running in your track suit are totally different things. That’s what scares me about Jackson 3rd. He was a day 2 pick before the combine. Now people keep boosting him up way higher than he should be. I pray they do not take him in the first.

  • The Notorious TOM

    Stop it, Lance.

  • H.K. northern cali

    I’ll take him in the first. And dl-butler in the second.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    What is it that makes Josh Norman so great?

    He’s not overly fast. He’s not overly physical. He’s not overly long. He’s not overly explosive.

    What he does have is excellent technique, and he looks back for the ball on nearly every single play. And that is what i like about WJIII as well. He looks back for the ball. Sometimes he gets into trouble because he looks back TOO MUCH, but I would much rather have that problem than what the Steelers currently have, which is the ball being thrown right by their earholes on many many an occasion.

    WJIII is virtually the same size and length as Josh Norman, both are equally quick in short areas (10 yards), and both have smooth hips and good hands. WJIII is a little bit faster in distance (40 yards) and not quite as strong/explosive, but there is nothing Norman can do PHYSICALLY that WJIII cannot. The question is…

    Can William Jackson III learn to anticipate routes and track the ball at the NFL level?… And I believe he can.

    Let me be clear. I am not saying Jackson III is the next Josh Norman. I am saying he has all the same tools. If we knew for sure he could make the transition he would be drafted in the top 3 picks. But even if Jackson never reaches the level of Norman, I think the chances of him being a complete bust are very low.

    If you’re 6’0″ with 32″ arms, and run a 4.37 forty with a 1.52 split, and one of your best qualities is playing the ball in the air, on an island, and you can actually catch INT’s, there is a place for you in the NFL.

  • Tim Goetz

    Butler won’t make it their

  • RMSteeler

    Whim of the week. DB being BPA at 25 would be a miracle. DL or Edge Rusher being it is probably 90% IMO.

  • Shane Mitchell

    And there in lies the problem in spending high picks on secondary players for a complicated zone scheme, they dont know how well they can learn and if they have any natural instincts at reading defenses until they get into the NFL and try to do it on the field against NFL competition at NFL speed. .

  • ccsteeler

    Absolutely! The great conundrum.

  • Alex Kozora

    Good study. And since 1991, the non-Power 5 players taken in the third round. Just two.

    Dri Archer in 2014 and Emmanuel Sanders in 2010.

  • jsteeler

    Clemson University ALWAYS put out a great fit!

  • jsteeler

    Obviously, you haven’t watched ANY Clemson Football. Georgia, Oklahoma, LSU, South Carolina, Fla State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Pitt all tried to throw his way on the 1st 2 series. After that they stopped and went to pick on the LB’s and Tankersley the LCB. the other side. Tankersley got the picks. In the National Championship game Mac got hurt and Alabama targeted the backup with runs and draws to his side and on ST. His presence was missed and Clemson lost. His Absence was pivotal in the results of the game. We’ll get em next year! Easily the Best Cover man in the ACC and the country in 2015.

  • Sam Clonch

    Very curious what changed for him since his last mock. Steelers roster or needs certainly haven’t. I’m betting he’s making as many different mocks as possible to increase his odds of “predicting” the correct pick. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then, right?

  • Tom Jackson

    I know and if your just doing that it’s all good to me. I actually like the research your done here and think it’s useful to some extend but people used that history to almost eliminate Jackson as a possible option in the past and thats stupid to me. Don’t know if you even on that train based on your comment but under this article about Jackson it kind of reminded me of those statements.

  • PittsburghSports

    Yeah definitely shows a trend.

  • PittsburghSports

    It’s not stupid at all. You can’t completely eliminate him, but you can certainly say there’s a high probability that he won’t be the pick based on that criteria.

  • Bigcity157

    Steelers fan is a WVU homer? Who woulda thunk it

  • Bigcity157

    Its not stupid when the team has more continuity in scouting philosophy over the past 25 years than maybe any other team. At this point it’s a useful indicator, very large sample size. If we had a brand new gm and the rooneys sold the team you’d have a point

  • Bigcity157

    Fuller will end up at safety and we will be kicking ourselves 3 years from now for not taking him.

  • Tom Jackson

    Your agreeing then? Otherwise your just half-assing aroung here. We don’t know how much they like or don’t like Jackson. They show some interest so we can indicate that theres some type of attraction to him. How strong that is, is everybodies guess right now. To say it’s very unlikely is a confusing statement since an individual prospect is always an unique circumstance. Small school kids have been very liked by us before and it wouldn’t be foolish to think Jackson is a guy who can break the tendency again. Fact is you can’t rule him out at all as a pick so that type of practice is not very fruitful IMHO.

    Still interesting but you just can’t draw or I should rather say shouldn’t draw big conclussions out of it. Because what does it do for you to call a pick ‘very unlikely’ which seems very much in play right now. We can’t put a serious likeable draft pick list out anyway. We have hints and guesses and they are flawed most of the time tbh. Lol Some maybe more educated then others but they still are.

    What the knowing of the tendency can do for you though is being more cautious with a guy like that and hold him to a higher standard. And if he’s looking to be a long shot or rather random selection in the first place you can throw him in the ‘very unlikely’ category. But Jackson makes a lot of sence in many aspects and therefore can’t just get the ‘small school’ stamp and be tossed. I mean if we picked high in 2014 would’ve Khalil Mack be very unlike just because he played at Buffalo. No he wouldn’t have been and so is Jackson.

  • Tom Jackson

    So we haven’t selected a small school kid high before? Again tendencies aren’t washing out exeptions. Thats all I’m saying.

  • PittsburghSports

    We’re taking tendencies and probabilities. Nothing is 100% or 0%.

  • Tom Jackson

    Yeah that wasn’t really my point… it’s all good we’re different on this one nothing to trip up about.

  • PittsburghSports

    Your point is that you have a draft crush on WJ3? If the Steelers have 2 prospects they are equally high on when their pick at 25 comes around and 1 is from Power 5 conference and the other is from a non-Power 5 conference, the probability that their selection is from a Power 5 conference is high based on their tendencies. No one is saying it’s impossible, but you can’t discount a tendency with such a large sample size, as Bigcity157 said.

  • Tom Jackson

    I don’t love Jackson as a prospect and desperately want him in a steelers jersey. I like him though and like to consider the steelers to draft him if he’s there but I don’t have a dog in this race it’s principle.

    You saying it’s ‘very unlikely’ that the steelers select him and your statement of if they rate two players the same they’ll select the guy from a big school are vastly different arguments. I’m agreeing with the latter of the two.

    I never argued that the tendency isn’t there or wouldn’t matter at all to them. I’m just saying you can’t heavily negate a prospect at that spot just because he’s from a small school. I think the fact that he’s a pretty good prospect, with not many outright flaws to his game and who plays at a high need position for us makes him a small school prospect with a good chance to break the trend. Does that mean he’s got an advantage against players similar rated prospects from a big school? No, but he’s still a ligitimate dog in this race I feel like. I mean he could very possible be the highest rated DB on our board if Alexander is gone by 25. Maybe not but I don’t understand why he should get a small school prospect, very unlikely 1st RND selection tag on him right now. And it’s not like I called him a front runner for it or anything like that.

  • CP72

    Houston did play some plus programs this year. Louisville, Navy, and Florida State. Memphis with possible first round pick Lynch as their QB.

    Did a quick count think they played four bowl teams. They may not be a Power 5, but they’re not Cal Poly Tech either.

  • CP72

    Alexander didn’t have an interception, but he also didn’t give up a touchdown pass. That pretty impressive in the ACC.

    Ike Taylor couldn’t catch a cold. He was a very good player for a long time.
    I like Jackson, but Alexander is a quality player as well.

  • Ike Evans

    Didnt say he wasnt

  • CP72

    Yeah I know Ike. I’m just saying that no interception thing is way overblown. He wasn’t challenged much. Alexander’s combine interview was the most impressive interview I have seen all draft season. He might have some intangibles that are quantifiable at the combine.

    Makes you wonder why teams insisted on throwing at Jackson.
    Doesn’t seem to be a wise decision.

  • PittsburghSports

    What’s your main reason for agreeing with the latter part of that argument lol?

    Personally, I love Jackson’s game. I think he fits in perfectly for what the Steelers do, and I def have a little draft crush on him for that reason. I’m not so sure about a 1st rd pick, but other than Ramsey and Hargreaves there’s a drop off in quality, so anyone’s in the mix there for the next spots. If I have to pick 5 players right now that the Steelers would most likely pick in rd 1, I’m not sure WJ3 is one of them, and I’m basing that on position and school tendencies, as well as skill and team needs. It all factors in and it’s what makes projection a fun experiment. You can’t discount the Steelers interest too. They show up at Pro Day, have dinner or invite him to PIT you have to consider him in the mix.

  • CP72

    You’re crazy…..Alexander is an excellent cover guy. He is a little undersized, but I think he will start early in his career and for a long time.

    Trae Waynes was big and fast. He also struggled to get on the field in Minnesota. Got have it from the neck up. I think Alexander has that in spades.

  • CP72

    Well said. The only thing I would remind you is Jalen Ramsey was in the ACC….

  • CP72

    There’s 10-12 dlineman that have first round grades. You can speculate there’s going to be quality into the 3rd maybe 4th round. I could see Butler there in round two.

  • Tim Goetz

    No way

  • CP72

    I honestly don’t think he’s a first rounder. To many quality guys. Small school kid with an average combine. Probably more of a run stuffer.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, but this draft class is loaded with D-tackles with better pedigrees.

  • Tom Jackson

    No I meant the 2nd argument of the two I mentioned. William Jackson a very unlikely selection for our 25th OVR pick. Disagree. If there are two players rated the same on the steelers draft board the steelers go with the power-5 conf. player rather then the small school kid. Agree.

    And we’re disagreeing on a lot of fronts here it seems like. I do think the CB position value has increased over the last few years and a CB can be a 1st RND pick for us now. Without someone dropping like 10-15 spots randomly on draft night. Reason being for one that CBs are a bigger part of our defense now due to the increase of spread offenses/sub-package football and second that we’ve seen a little prove in last years draft I feel like with RND 2 and RND 4 selections. Thats a huge investment to a position we touched only with a 5th pick a few years ago with a high need for CBs on our team back then. If I interpreted the notion right that you drop Jackson down because of his position/need and school.

    And just because someone isn’t in your or mine top 5, in terms of likeability to be drafted by the steelers in the 1st, doesn’t mean it’s very unlikely he will. First of because we might have a feel before the draft who they covet but there always can be a guy who comes out of left field. Maybe because he didn’t had a reported visit or we thought he wasn’t good enough. And second there probably will be players eliminated from our top 5s way before the steelers are even picking. That could easily shrink the pool to 2-3 guys.

  • Tim Goetz

    Well I hope you are correct, because I would run to the podium with that pick in the 2nd. Trust me he will be gone 20 spot before that pick.

  • PittsburghSports

    Your 1st paragraph is exactly what I was asking, and you answered lol. Two prospects of equal value, put you’re not picking one of them based on where he went to school. lol that’s my whole point of criteria based on Steeler tendencies. Geez!

  • Tom Jackson

    And hows that making William Jackson a ‘very unlikely’ candidate for our 1st RND pick? It makes no sence to me. I got the sence through your comments that a small school player has way more to worry about in the steelers war room then just losing a tiebreaker.

    That was my whole point. I think it’s ‘stupid’ to almost fully eliminate WJ3 JUST because of him being a non power 5 conf. player in college. Remember? LOL

  • PittsburghSports

    You think it’s stupid to almost fully eliminate him based on his school, but you just eliminated him over another player based solely on where he went to school? I think you’re starting to argue with yourself now.

  • Tom Jackson

    Man now you either just F’ing with me or being incredibly difficult and non-sensical. Another player who they value about the same as him! Do you think they got the same value of about 10 different players and then let negligent tiebreaker decide who they take? Lol

    Players who are talent-wise rated similarly or rated in a grading system similarly. Then the school could be a tiebreaker. In that scenario YOU started useing like 5 comments ago, I’ll agree with you.

    That is your comment I’m refering to the whole time:
    ‘If the Steelers have 2 prospects they are equally high on when their pick at 25 comes around and 1 is from a Power 5 conference and the other is from a non-Power 5 conference, the probability that their selection is from a Power 5 conference is high based on their tendencies.’

    We’re just talking about that scenario because of you anyway…

  • PittsburghSports

    I’m just trying to get you to understand that you scoffed at the notion his school would rule him out as the Steelers pick, but when you were faced with the decision you used the same exact criteria to eliminate him lol. Wether it’s 1 player vs another or 1 player vs 4 others makes no difference. The principal is the same.

    I wouldn’t say the Steelers have 10 guys, but I bet when things are narrowed down they’ll have 4-5 guys they really like for the 25 spot and if all 5 of them are still there you’ll see their tendencies and criteria play a part in their decision. No CBs in rd 1, Power-5 conference, Height/Weight/Athleticism, Juniors with 30+ games. Those are just a few of the tendencies the Steelers have.

  • Tom Jackson

    And how is that ruling him out as the pick? He could be just the most talented player by a certain margin (whatever that is) at 25 at a position of need. Why is that so unlikely? And boom, with the 25th OVR pick in the 2016 NFL Draft the Pittsburgh Steelers select, William Jackson III CB Houston.

  • Ike Evans

    Doesnt really matter to me about interceptions so youre right, it is overblown …ramsey didnt have any either….but alexander doesnt have ball skills….like at all…he plays like the ball doesnt exist …doesnt bother to get his head around and hes terrible in jump ball situations ….so regardless of the production….those traits are lacking….there are many guys who dont get thrown at alot but their ball skills are evident….he has many strengths but thats just not one…..and hargraves got thrown at alot…..just about every corner gets thrown at alot in college especially ones that play for non power 5 teams….i dont think thats something to hold against a player cuz youd be questioning plenty of good ones