What you need to know: A second-team All-SEC cornerback, Wilson wrapped his final season in Gainesville with 33 tackles, three interceptions and six pass break-ups. He had six picks over his three-season career, five of them coming during conference play and the sixth against Florida State. Wilson took one back 78 yards to the house last season, against Missouri. He also posted a nine-tackle game in a win over South Carolina; he did not have more than four tackles in any other contest from 2014 to ’16. Wilson started 24 games for the Gators, including all 13 as a true junior. His dad, Chad Wilson, was a defensive back for the University of Miami from 1992 to ’94.
Strengths: Wilson fits the outside cornerback mold. He’s big (6' 1", 211 pounds) and likes to play in the hip pocket of the receiver he’s defending. That includes both at the line, where Wilson stands his ground with an aggressive press technique, and downfield, as he plays through receivers to get to the football. Clean catches are hard to come by when Wilson is in the vicinity.
Wilson is a no-fear, no-nonsense defender. The Gators did not hesitate to pit him against top wide receivers—Laquon Treadwell, Calvin Ridley, etc.—and he often rose to the occasion.
He is proactive in defending the football, displaying enough anticipation of routes to jump them when playing downhill. Even when receivers manage to get behind him, it usually takes them an extra beat or two, meaning that he can disrupt timing even if he doesn’t make a direct play on the ball.
Wilson doesn’t mind getting dirty in the run game, either, nor does he allow himself to get sucked inside by misdirection. He’ll stick with his responsibilities near the boundary and attempt to square up ball carriers.
The overall technique needs some work, but for a team that leans on press-man coverage, he could be an early contributor.
Weaknesses: The desire to land the first blow at the line of scrimmage can leave Wilson flailing from time to time. If he doesn’t disrupt a receiver’s path right off the snap, he can find himself spinning as he tries to recover.
He’s also not a speed cornerback (4.54-second 40-yard dash). So, while it’s rare that a receiver creates a significant cushion behind him, he can’t always stay in phase and instead will wind up trailing. His timing is such that he can close those windows late, but the windows are there at least a couple times per game.
There is a gap between his desire to impact the run game and his ability to do so, due mainly to his hit-or-miss tackling. Wilson can grow flat-footed waiting on a back to reach him, and he will lunge when attacking the ball. His physicality doesn’t always show up when he’s getting blocked—receivers, tight ends and linemen alike can send him backpedaling if he can’t sidestep them.
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