The Bengals spent the bulk of their efforts in free agency and the draft bringing in defenders. In the secondary alone, the Bengals replaced three fifths of their starters.
One starter they didn’t replace was William Jackson.
According to Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar, Jackson is one of the ten best cornerbacks in the NFL in man coverage.
Not much went right for Cincinnati’s bottom-feeding defense in 2019, but Jackson was a rare standout in a positive sense. Though he struggled with injuries in the second half of the season, An outstanding boundary cornerback who was negatively affected at times by some perplexing safety “help” looks, Jackson seemed more comfortable when he could just erase his target on his own. Last season, Jackson did allow one touchdown in man coverage (which the Bengals used on just 33% of their snaps), but aside from that, he gave up just 10 catches on 28 targets for 159 yards, and a Positive Play Rate of 32.1% — good for fourth-best in the league.
Jackson, or everyone on the defense for that matter, did struggle due to some scheming complications. But in the first half of the season, Zac Taylor and Lou Anarumo were still trying to find their identity. The playcalling was very experimental at times, but it got better as the year went on.
In 2020, Jackson will better help around him. This will limit opposing offenses to what they can do and will make his job easier.