With the regular season now here, the Bengals continue to get healthier as the days roll on. The latest example of this comes as William Jackson III was seen working on the rehab field Thursday for the first time since his injury.
The 24th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jackson is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle suffered in training camp. That happened on August 1, followed by surgery later that week. It's now September 8, one month into what is expected to be a three to five month recovery timetable. Jackson is on injured reserve right now, and if he gets the designation to return, he can come off I.R. in Week 9.
Week 9 is the Bengals’ bye week, and the first week in November, which would be just over three months from the tear, so it's possible Jackson is able to return to practice somewhere around Week 10. While he may be a rookie, Jackson has the potential to make a big impact in this secondary down the stretch of this season.
The former Houston Cougars cornerback was regarded as one of the two or three best cornerback prospects in this year’s draft. This past season, Jackson led the NCAA and set a school record for pass breakups in 2015 with 23. He also added five interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
Jackson followed that up with a great showing in offseason workouts, so much that coaches expressed the desire for him to play early and often in 2016. With Leon Hall gone and Darqueze Dennard being injury-prone, Jackson could quickly find himself in the top of the rotation once he gets healthy and acclimated to the NFL.
While we've still got a ways to go before Jackson is able to even get a full practice in, just seeing him on the rehab field heading into Week 1 is a great sign that his 2016 has not been lost entirely, as was initially feared.