Throughout his coaching career, Washington head coach Ron Rivera has seen several cornerbacks thrive under him.
Charles Tillman and Nathan Vasher excelled in Chicago when Rivera was the team's defensive coordinator. So did Antonio Cromartie and Quentin Jammer when Rivera held the same job with the Chargers. In Carolina, Josh Norman and James Bradberry both became household names playing under the head coach. Then in 2020, Rivera's first year in Washington, Ronald Darby turned in arguably the best season of his career.
So, while Rivera might not be a cornerback whisperer, he certainly knows how to get the most out of his defensive backs.
In free agency, newly-signed cornerback William Jackson III had many suitors. But, as the former Bengal explained on the Washington Football Talk podcast, the chance to play under Rivera was one of the main reasons that playing for the Burgundy and Gold was his most appealing option.
"Oh, no question. He just knows the game, he had played for so long. He uses guys to their strength," Jackson said. "That's why every corner that comes in his system, they blossom. So, I'm really excited. Once I knew that he was the head coach here, it was a no-brainer."
Jackson has plenty of respect for his new head coach. That admiration goes both ways, too.
In a post-free agency press conference last week, Rivera raved about what Jackson will bring to an already stout Washington defense.
"He, I think, is really a tremendous corner who really has the skillset to say: ‘Hey, we want to put him on your best guy. We want to put him over here and roll away from him.’ It gives us that kind of flexibility," Rivera said.
The head coach wasn't finished, either.
"This is a dynamic football player," he said. "We’re very, very happy to have him.”
Since signing with Washington, Jackson has said multiple times just how excited he is to play for his new team. Even with his signing a few weeks old, the cornerback still is just as thrilled to be playing in Washington next fall.
"It's like a dream come true," Jackson said. "It [doesn't] even feel real, just walking into this organization with this D-Line that they have. It's going to be crazy... I'm just excited."