Last week Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert spoke to media at the NFL Owners Meeting about the team "tracking" some of the top cornerback prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft. The team has met with Eli Apple of Ohio State, Mackensie Alexander of Clemson and likely others which haven't been publicized. You can now add William Jackson III from Houston to the growing list of defensive backs on Pittsburgh's draft radar.
Colbert, Mike Tomlin and secondary coach Carnell Lake were all in attendance to watch Jackson perform at the Houston Pro Day, but the visit extended to a meal between the Steelers brass and the prospect.
"For the head coach to come down here, that's a big deal," Jackson told NFL Insider Aaron Wilson. "I was like, 'Wow, they're here to see me.' It was crazy, I never thought I'd be in that predicament. That was a great atmosphere and a great dinner. It's a blessing to go from not talked about to talked about."
Jackson has been rising steadily on draft boards ever since he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds at the NFL scouting combine in February. Combine such speed with his 6-foot 1-inch frame and extremely long extremities and teams are wondering if they have the next great cornerback in their midst.
The Steelers draft 25th in the upcoming selection process, and questions certainly abound regarding the team's direction they will address in the first round. It is almost a certainty the team will be drafting a defensive player, but what position and player is certainly worth debating. Throughout this process Jackson has inserted his name into the discussion, and the Steelers meeting with Jackson just goes to further solidify him as a potential draft choice for the team.
"I want to show them I'm a guy who can get along with teammates and will come in and work hard and earn a spot," Jackson said. "I don't want nothing given to me."
Jackson has the work ethic, but will the Steelers be the team to give him a chance? Let the debate begin...