Gators Cornerback Marco Wilson Has a Big Decision to Make
Following a successful return to the field in 2019 after suffering a torn ACL in Week 2 of his sophomore season, Florida Gators cornerback Marco Wilson is left with a huge decision to make.
Should the redshirt sophomore, son of former Miami Hurricanes cornerback Chad and brother to current Indianapolis Colts cornerback Quincy, join his brother in the NFL in 2020?
That would require Wilson to leave the University of Florida a year early, following in the footsteps of fellow starting cornerback C.J. Henderson. Wilson certainly has an NFL career ahead of him, and a solid résumé as a prospect right now.
The 6-0, 190 lb. defensive back has primarily played boundary cornerback for Florida during his career, where his physicality limited receivers in press coverage. That physicality led to a successful, short-term transition to the STAR nickel cornerback position this year in place of the struggling Trey Dean III, where Wilson recorded 13 tackles, an interception, and a pass breakup in two games.
All in all, Wilson's 2019 season was productive after returning from injury. He started in all 12 games, tallying 44 tackles, three interceptions, three pass breakups, and allowed a 65.1 completion percentage in coverage (per PFF.com). He also nearly cut his yards per reception allowed in half compared to his freshman campaign, from 21 yards per reception to 12.1, despite a higher completion percentage allowed this year compared to 2017 (42.5%).
Wilson also made eight pass breakups in his fully healthy freshman season, in which he started from opening day on.
NFL teams will see a defensive back with football in his bloodline, who plays instinctually and physically with a willingness to tackle, presents ball skills, and has some positional versatility on his scouting report.
He may not be as polished of a coverage cornerback as Henderson and his previous knee injury could concern teams- both factors will likely lead to a lower draft grade right now - but there's a spot for Wilson in the NFL right now should he choose to take it.
But two questions remain: Will he? And should he?
The answer to the first question has yet to be answered but will be soon. The answer to the second could go either way.
The 2020 NFL Draft class is filling out nicely at cornerback. The Draft Network even has eight cornerbacks ranked in the Top 50 prospects in the class as a whole, and there will be plenty of talented defensive backs to be found after the top-heavy group gets cleared out.
In which case, Wilson would have to provide a killer performance at the NFL Combine in order to stand out. As previously stated, his NFL résumé is solid right now, but it's nowhere near Henderson's And Henderson has been put anywhere within the range of a Top 10 pick to being a second round selection.
But, there is little room to doubt Wilson's ability to turn in a good showing at the NFL Combine. He's on record running a 4.42 40 yard dash, and a 4.09 20 yard shuttle coming out of high school. Surprisingly, Wilson also jumped 38.8 inches vertically before enrolling at Florida. All of these athletic testing results rank above average among NFL cornerbacks, specifically his vertical jump - coming in three inches higher than the typical corner.
Is it worth the risk for Wilson to put all of his eggs in one basket, and hope to make some serious money via the NFL Combine? In reality, that's the purpose of the event - to give prospects a chance to boost their draft stock via athletic testing and meeting with teams.
With an elite showing at the Combine, Wilson could get his name thrown into the mix with the top cornerbacks in the class. However, that is no guarantee, and it would be in Wilson's best interest to remember just how top heavy the class is, and how many other cornerbacks could put up a similar performance to this hypothetical come February at the Combine.
Rather, should Wilson return to Florida has the Gators' most experienced and versatile cornerback, he would have an excellent shot at improving his stock on the field for next year's draft. And if that ends up being the case, paired with an elite Combine performance in 2021, then Wilson could even garner some first round discussion. That probably won't happen this year.
There's a lot of "if's", "can's", and "but's" revolving the decision Marco Wilson has to make regarding his NFL future this month, which makes his decision much more difficult.
Wilson has plenty of reasons to put his name into the hat this year and to bet on himself as a prospect. He has just as many to return to Florida in 2020, which could pay huge dividends towards his draft stock a year from now.