Pittsburgh Steelers trading for Washington Commanders CB William Jackson III

Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Washington Commanders cornerback William Jackson III (3) attempts to intercept a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Skyy Moore (24) during the first half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

A tough go in Washington: Jackson has struggled with the Commanders, producing a 49.6 PFF grade that ranks 101st among 119 qualifying cornerbacks this season.

At his best in man coverage: Early in his career, Jackson was at his best in man coverage and earned an 80.0 coverage in man coverage with the Cincinnati Bengals.

News broke less than two hours before the NFL trade deadline that the Pittsburgh Steelers were swapping picks to acquire Washington Commanders’ cornerback William Jackson III.

Jackson has struggled in Washington’s scheme since arriving as a free agent in 2021, earning a 59.3 PFF grade last season and a 49.6 grade this season.

However, he has flashed high-level play since entering the league, with his best season coming in his rookie year as a member of the Bengals. That season, he produced a PFF grade of 90.2 and gave up just 15 receptions from 423 snaps in coverage.

William Jackson III: PFF grades and rank among cornerbacks since 2018
Season Team PFF Grade Rank
2022 WAS 49.6 101 of 119
2021 WAS 59.3 86 of 129
2020 CIN 71.4 20 of 135
2019 CIN 53.6 109 of 130
2018 CIN 73.4 27 of 125
2017 CIN 90.2 4 of 125

The Steelers have played man coverage on 186 snaps this season, the fifth-most among teams. That’s important because Jackson produced a PFF coverage grade of 80.0 across 690 man-coverage snaps with the Bengals compared to a 73.9 grade from 1,237 in zone.

This is a low-risk move for the Steelers that could pay off if Jackson can return to his early-career form.


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