William Jackson News Conference Transcript
Initial comments ...
Lewis: "We're happy to have Will here today. It's an exciting time for him, his family, his future, his career, and the Bengals. Last night there was quite a bit of excitement from our team members about us selecting Will, and him having the opportunity to help us get better as a football team. I think they're anxious to get their arms around him and have him help us, and help him help us. Its been a busy morning getting him here."
Jackson: "I'm just blessed to be here, and be a member of this organization. There's some great guys on this team who tweeted me last night. I'm excited to get to work and show them what I can do."
Who have you heard from?
Jackson: "It was a bunch of them. I couldn't remember because I was so overwhelmed. I just couldn't get the names. There were tweets coming from everywhere, but I'm pretty sure it was a lot of teammates."
Has it started to settle down for you?
Jackson: "I still can't believe it right now. Its been a long road to get here. I worked so hard to get to this moment, and for me to be here now is truly a blessing."
Is it an easy scheme transition from Houston to the Bengals?
Jackson: "Yes, it's similar. It's just different terminology. When me and coach went over it on the board on my visit, it was second nature. I got the defense very quickly."
What cornerbacks do you like to watch?
Jackson: "I like to watch Darrelle Revis and Patrick Peterson, and how they translate to my game."
Prior to all of this, did you have any impressions of the Bengals as a football fan?
Jackson: "They're a great team. They always played the Texans every year. My mother was a big Texans fan, so when you all won, she didn't like that. But I like the organization."
Do you remember anything about some of those games?
Jackson: "I don't remember too many. I was trying to do my own thing by then."
If someone told you years ago that you'd be a first rounder, what would you have said?
Jackson: " 'You're crazy.' (Laughs.) There's a lot of Power Five school kids that usually go in the first round, and for me to get that call was truly a blessing for my school and the little kids that look up to me."
When did going in the first round seem like a real possibility?
Jackson: "After the combine. I had a lot of hype. When I started flying out to a lot of teams and seeing them interested is when it hit me."
Did you anticipate having that type of game in the Peach Bowl vs. Florida State?
Jackson: "No, sir. I prepared just like any other game. I went out with my teammates and I knew we were going to play for each other. When we all came together and said 'Let's do this" in the locker room, I knew we were going to win it."
Do you make any adjustments for the big games?
Jackson: "I like to show the world that I can play with the best of them. For those type of games I prepare really hard, and watch a lot of film. Its not all me, I've got some great teammates and leaders. Once we started to come together and loved one another, I started having a great season, and they had one as well."
Do you remember any players in particular that you've gone up against?
"A wide receiver from Tulsa. He was a taller guy. Playing against him, he was tough. But we got the job done and won the game."
Marvin, what have you liked most about Will's growth?
Lewis: "When you looked at him technically, you saw great athleticism and skills. We'll ask him to clean up some things in order to play down after down in the NFL. A lot of times in college, the scheme gets in the way of technique. We have to match things up all the time that way. Its a different game up here. He was bigger, faster and stronger than a lot of the guys he was matched up against. At this level, its generally even. You have to be exact, precise in the things you do because you lose your degree of error. It goes away very quickly. You have to be on top of your game and stay sound.
"Will has the skill to do that. He has the intellect to figure out why and understand why, understand the changes of things and why coverage and leverage change based on where your help is. That was an important part of the time that Kevin (Coyle), Paul (Guenther) and I spent with him both in Indy and here. For us to get a good feel for that was great."
Are you looking forward to the mentoring environment, with a bunch of first-round draft picks in the DBs room?
Jackson: "Of course. Adam Jones has been in the game a long time. I want to get under his wing to see how he prepares and what he did to stay in the league so long. He will be a big mentor to me."
Did he reach out to you?
Jackson: "I have no idea. My twitter account was going crazy. I'm hoping he did."
Have you spent a lot of time outside of Houston, other than football road trips?
Jackson: "Not really. I'm ready to get away. I've been in Houston too long. This will be a great way for me to grow as a man. I'm looking forward to it."
Your bio says you ride horses? Are you a city kid or a country kid?
Jackson: "I'm kind of in the middle. I stayed in the city. My grandma had horses in the city, so we used to ride around the city on horses."
When was the first time you rode?
Jackson: "When I was five. I rode with my grandma. I remember I used to cry when she would take me off. That's stuck with me since."
So your family owns horses?
Was there any disappointment that you landed on a team that didn't have an immediate need at corner?
Jackson: "Not at all. Every player needs a mentor and someone to look up to. Being behind those guys and seeing how they get the job done and what technique they use can help me a lot. When I get my opportunity, I can go in and play just like they play for years."
Marvin, what are your thoughts on all the competition you have had among your highly drafted cornerbacks?
Lewis: "You have to take your hat off to our guys for what they've done. Dating back to Leon (Hall), to J-Jo (Johnathan Joseph), from then to Terrence (Newman) and Reggie (Nelson), then on to Dre (Kirkpatrick), Adam (Jones) and Darqueze (Dennard), and now Will.
"They've all understood you collectively get better by pushing each other to be better, by holding each other to a higher standard. It makes everyone better. They've been competitive in their drill work and practice. They've raised each others' levels of learning how to study the game, opponent and plan. That has raised the level in the room. To me, its a great opportunity for Will to come into, and understand how NFL players go about their day and week. It not only becomes the physical part of the game, but the intellectual part of the game as well. That's where our guys have really matured and taken a huge step in. Some of those guys are no longer here, but they blazed the trail."
And over a long season, you feel like you need all these guys ...
Lewis: "We obviously feel like we need those guys. It goes back to when I left Pittsburgh and first took the job in Baltimore. I underestimated how good our guys were in Pittsburgh, and it's been something that has stuck with me; you can't have enough. So we've continued to do that. Mike (Brown) feels the same way, so we feel good about it."
Do you consider yourself a film junkie?
Jackson: "Of course. That's the type of guy I am. I like to watch film. The game comes slower to me. I'm big on it."
At what point did you dive into that?
Jackson: "This year. I took it very seriously. I started to make plays for my teammates. They were happy for me, so I kept watching films, making plays, and winning games."
What caused that switch?
Jackson: "My coach taught me how to watch film, like what to look for in receiver stances, the width, and numbers. Once I learned that part of the game, it came much slower to me."
You played at Paul Brown Stadium before. Do you remember?
Jackson: "Right. I don't want to remember. (Laughs.) We lost. (University of Cincinnati defeated Houston in 2014). It was cold and rainy. I left some plays out on the field, but we got better that next week."
Is the strength of your game your range?
Jackson: "Yes sir. I think so. I was blessed to have long arms. I was able to put it all together, to make plays on the ball."