Bengals fans aren’t the only ones hailing William Jackson as the next great shutdown corner. Pro Football Focus noticed his breakout year in 2017 and has been quite vocal about all the ways Jackson stands out. Here are a few examples.
The first stat is the most commonly known one. Jackson shut Antonio Brown down last season. Brown is considered by many to be the best wide receiver in the league, but Jackson is his de facto rookie season did not allow Brown to make a single reception.
That is a great start against a top opponent that he will see at least twice a season.
William Jackson III vs. Antonio Brown this season— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 6, 2017
It wasn’t just Brown who struggled to make a catch against Jackson. Jackson lead cornerbacks in 2017 in cover snaps per reception. According to PFF, he only allowed one reception every 26.4 snaps in coverage. This puts Jackson is ahead of the next best performer, star cornerback Patrick Peterson, by a significant amount.
William Jackson III delivered in 2017! pic.twitter.com/jTRtFgqs23— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 29, 2018
Jackson is even more impressive when you look at catch percentage per target. According to PFF, he led in this category with a 36.6 catch percentage. After Jackson, Casey Hayward, Peterson, A.J. Bouye, and Marlon Humphrey are all clumped together with percentages between 43 and 46.
William Jackson has allowed less the 40 percent of the throws into his coverage to be caught this season pic.twitter.com/qon2AyDAx6— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 26, 2017
According to PFF, Jackson allowed an insanely low 151 yards last season. No one else is even close to him in this category. Aqib Talib is second on the list by 99 yards, and E.J. Gaines gave up more than twice as many yards as Jackson did and he is third on the list.
out for William Jackson in 2018! pic.twitter.com/RDI0s3TPvm— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) February 19, 2018
As one would expect, Jackson’s yards per cover snap is extremely low. PFF had jackson at 0.38 yards per cover snap. Looking at cornerbacks since 2006 this puts Jackson’s 2017 season just behind Asante Samuel’s 2010 season and Nnamdi Asomugha‘s 2008 season.
Samuel and Asomugha each allowed 0.36 in those respective seasons. That is an extremely impressive trio to be a part of.
For some more historical perspective, PFF found that in 2018 Jackson allowed the 7th-lowest passer rating in a season since 2006. Jackson made this list along with current NFL stars Hayward, who tops this list with this 2012 passer rating allowed, and Bouye, who comes in second after having an even lower passer rating allowed than than Jackson in 2017.
Then there’s Richard Sherman, whose 2013 passer rating allowed was slightly higher than Jackson’s was in 2017. The list also includes greats like Darrelle Revis, Charles Woodson, Champ Bailey, Lito Sheppard, and Samuel. Jackson is keeping some impressive company.
After an injury shut down his rookie season before it began, Jackson had an incredible second season for the Bengals. If he can continue to perform at this level, he will get the attention he deserves from the rest of the league and be recognized as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.