Fred Smoot can't wait to watch William Jackson III play behind Washington's defensive line

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Bijan Todd
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Smoot can't wait to watch Jackson III play behind Washington's d-line originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Former defensive back Fred Smoot is familiar with playing secondary for Washington. Smoot played safety in the nation's capital for seven seasons, from 2001-04 and again from 2007-09.

On Thursday, Smoot joined Julie Donaldson and former teammate Jason Campbell on the latest episode of Washington Football Today to discuss the team's recent free-agent signings, particularly the upgrade to their secondary.

First, Washington inked veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to a one-year deal worth up to $12 million with incentives. Next, they gave Fitzpatrick a target not named Terry McLaurin. Signing Panthers WR Curtis Samuel to a three-year, $34.5 million contract on Wednesday, WFT made their receiving core more explosive.

After losing CB Ronald Darby to the Broncos in free agency, the team’s front office went after Bengals corner William Jackson III and signed him to a three-year, $42 million deal. The move bolsters Washington’s secondary and provide breathing room for fellow CB Kendall Fuller. One thing Smoot is adamant about: the signing of Jackson III was an excellent move for the squad, partially because he’ll remind the fanbase of another former safety.

“I hate to boast and I hate to brag, but he reminds me of myself. He’s tall, he’s long and he knows how to get the ball,” Smoot says. 

Fred Smoot was certainly a guy opponents took notice of. Throughout his NFL career, Smoot amassed 450 tackles, 21 interceptions and five forced fumbles. That’s the exact kind of player WFT is looking for in the secondary.

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“Great things in this world come in threes—you got the Earth, the Sun and the Moon, and now we have William. Jackson. The third,” Smoot added. “As a corner, you’re only as good as your front. With him mixed with this front, it allows him to be who he is and do what he does best, and that’s playing man-to-man coverage.”

Jackson III was Pro Football Focus’s highest-rated cornerback in this year’s free-agent pool. The 28-year-old University of Houston alum played 59 games across four seasons in Cincinnati, nabbing three interceptions and 150. According to Smoot, Jackson has room to get even better.

“When I buy in free agency, I do not want guys that have reached their peak. William Jackson has not reached his peak. I cannot wait to see him playing behind Chase Young and Montez Sweat. It’s gonna be a fun time for Washington right now.”

Catch the full interview on Washington Football Today on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.