Photo credit: University of Florida Athletics Association
Marco Wilson clearly illustrated last week that he was capable of suiting up in the NFL based on athleticism alone, and collegiate pedigree to go along with it. But, where will his long and volatile career with the Florida Gators take him to, at the next level?
During the team's pro day last week, Wilson demonstrated how much of a pure athlete he was; He was able to excel at all of the drills tasked in front of him. Wilson would go on to run a blazing 4.37 40-yard-dash while jumping an incredible 43.5 inches in the vertical jump
The vertical jump numbers are currently the fifth-highest ever rated by a cornerback, according to MockDraftable.com.
In fact, Wilson's numbers were so good that he scored a 9.99 out of 10.00 in RAS (relative athletic score). That is ranked No. 3 out of 1784 cornerbacks from 1987 to 2021. Simply put, he is a freak athletically and because of that, could be selected higher than some would believe prior to his pro day.
At 5-foot-11, 191 pounds, Wilson is on the "smaller" side as far as the typical cornerbacks in a press-man scheme for the NFL, but he still packs a punch. He is likely best suited for off-man coverage as he played at Florida, or zone coverage, allowing his athleticism and technique to do the majority of the work for him.
So then, where would Wilson likely fit in the NFL? We take a look:
While it is not yet known exactly what scheme the Jaguars will run with new defensive coordinator Joe Cullen, the fit for Wilson in Jacksonville is obvious. Led by head coach Urban Meyer, who has a clear connection to the program, Wilson could do nicely being just a short trek away from his previous stomping grounds.
Wilson's athleticism is off the charts. The Jaguars invested heavily at the cornerback position, signing former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin to a four-year $44.5M deal during the free agency period. Wilson would also be able to reunite with his former teammate CJ Henderson, who was selected by the Jaguars in the first round of last year's draft.
Given the team's current cornerback room, Wilson wouldn't be asked to start but has an opportunity for early playing time due to the team's lack of depth at the nickel corner position. His ability to sit and learn, while getting spot duty is a solid situation to begin his NFL career.
The Cardinals' need at the cornerback position is obvious. Both Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick are no longer with the team, and last season the team's pass defense was underwhelming at times and at best. The team's need at the position astronomical, and they are likely to select a cornerback in the first round as a result.
The Cardinal's defense is taxing on opposing offenses due to its pass rush. With the addition of J.J. Watt earlier this year, it will become even more so during the 2021 season. This will result in a more cornerback-friendly environment, but also force the coverage to become more attacking in mature, needing speed as a result.
Wilson has clearly demonstrated an ability to use his speed to his advantage and has a knack for rushing the passer from the short side of the field. If the Cardinals would like to load up in the secondary, Wilson seems like a clear target at some point in the draft.
The Cowboys have been in need of help within its secondary for years now. By not re-signing Byron Jones a year ago, the team set itself back in the cornerback department. While Dallas did select a cornerback in Trevon Diggs in the second round of last year's draft, there is still plenty of work to do.
Dan Quinn, the former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, and former defensive coordinator of the Florida Gators could have an opportunity to gather more insight from the Florida football program. While he has not worked with the university in quite some time, the ties still remain to this day.
The addition of Wilson at some point in the draft would indicate a clear project player for Dallas on the inside. While Quinn implements a spin-off of the Seattle Seahawks defense, featuring long corners, Wilson wouldn't have to play outside, sticking to the inside of the defense, allowing his physicality and athleticism to be used more often than not.