The Bengals' first two selections of the 2016 NFL Draft might end up facing each other in practice, but when that eventually happens, it won't be the first time the two match up. In January 2015, William Jackson III covered Tyler Boyd in the Armed Forces Bowl. Boyd was Pittsburgh's top wide receiver, and Jackson was Houston's top corner, so naturally, the two players matched up with each other on a couple of occasions in the bowl game.
''We had some nice battles,'' Boyd said Friday, per FOX Sports.
Boyd got the best of Jackson III on a couple of occasions, hauling in nine passes for 112 yards--though it's important to note Jackson III wasn't covering Boyd every time the receiver caught a pass. ''There wasn't a lot of man coverage because it was wet and slick,'' Boyd said. ''They played off us a little bit. I didn't get matched up with him as often as people thought we would have.''
When asked about Boyd, Jackson III had only great things to say. ''He's a great player. He caught lot of balls in that game. Now he's a teammate and the sky's the limit," Jackson said. Jackson III had the last laugh, as his Houston Cougars came out on top with a 35-34 victory over Pitt.
"He was probably one of the top guys that I've faced," Boyd added via ESPN. "I can tell he has a lot of dog in him. I've seen him play against other teams, and I know that he's in the same caliber as me. I know he's all about competing and trying to be the best."
Both Bengals rookies will have opportunities to battle for snaps, and perhaps they'll need to battle each other in practice to earn those snaps. It looks like there is a mutual respect between the two, so hopefully the first and second round picks can push each other to get better, further enabling the Bengals to improve as a team and hopefully make progress toward a potential playoff win, or even better, a Super Bowl.