With the 24th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Houston Cougars cornerback William Jackson III. Though this position wasn't expected to be addressed this early, Jackson is a solid corner who can help upgrade this secondary with Leon Hall gone.
You could make a good case for cornerback being a big position of need now with Darqueze Dennard coming off a major shoulder injury, Leon Hall remaining an unsigned free agent, and Dre Kirkpatrick not exactly having a great first year as a full-time starter.
So really, we shouldn't be surprised to see the Bengals draft a corner early in this year's draft. Jackson III is one of the top corners in this year's NFL draft, even though he played in the American Conference. There's a lot of debate among draft analysts as to how good Jackson is and if he was worth this pick.
CBS Sports has the 6'0", 189-pound corner ranked as the 19th overall prospect in this draft. That means the Bengals taking him with the 24th pick is actually pretty good value. However, NFL.com gives Jackson a 5.93 grade and ranks him as the 43rd-best prospect in the NFL Draft.
Pro Football Focus actually suggests Jackson may be this draft's best corner.
Jackson was PFF's second-highest graded cornerback in coverage this season, and second only to Ramsey in overall grade when play against the run is thrown into the equation. He was targeted 93 times this past season, allowing only 46 catches (49.5 percent). He had five interceptions and 12 pass breakups, allowing a passer rating of just 57.9 when thrown his way.
Jackson does seem to have some mental lapses during games, occasionally seeming confused with motion and route combinations designed to force him into a quick decision. However, when he can just line up and play coverage against a receiver he demonstrates high-level ability and an almost limitless potential.
Some will question the level of competition he faced at Houston, but if one takes a look at just his numbers against Power-5 competition, his numbers actually improved. He didn't allow a touchdown against any of those teams and the passer rating when he was thrown at fell to just 31.8.
Coming into the first round, the biggest positions of need for Cincinnati were defensive tackle and wide receiver. While those needed addressing early, there were several others positions that the Bengals could address, leaving them in better position to take the best player available and not have to reach for someone.
With the first pick now having been made, the Bengals won't be back on the clock until the 55th overall pick in Round 2. We probably shouldn't expect them to move up from that spot as they like to avoid trading up early in drafts.
We'll have more on this story here shortly. For now, give a warm welcome to the next Bengal as his NFL dreams are now a reality.
Biggest remaining needs: WR, DT, DE, S, OL
Bengals picks: 24, 55, 87, 122, 161, 199, 245
How to Watch the NFL Draft, Round 1
When: Thursday, April 28, at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Chicago's Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University
TV Info: ESPN and NFL Network will both broadcast the first-round live.
Online Stream: Live streaming available via Watch ESPN and NFL Network Online.
Mobile: Watch ESPN Mobile and NFL Network Mobile
Radio: You can listen to coverage of the draft on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Channel 88.