Wilson's NFL Debut Will Wait at Least One More Week

As injuries along the Tennessee Titans' offensive line mount, the first-round draft pick's opportunity looks to draw nearer.
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Isaiah Wilson did not play on Sunday, but he appears to be inching closer to seeing some action.

The Tennessee Titans offensive tackle, selected 29th overall in April’s draft, was on the game day roster – and in uniform – for the first time this season for Sunday’s 30-24 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens. However, he was one of two Titans who did not log a single snap in the contest. Cornerback Greg Mabin was the other.

But with left tackle Ty Sambrailo most likely out for the season after he sustained an undisclosed injury against the Ravens, that might change soon.

Wilson could compete with David Quessenberry, who replaced Sambrailo on Sunday, to be Tennessee’s third different starter at left tackle this season. Sambrailo earlier replaced three-time Pro Bowler Taylor Lewan at the position after he suffered a season-ending ACL tear.

Or right tackle Dennis Kelly could go to the left side, where he started four games in 2019, and Wilson could be a candidate for right tackle, his more natural position.

At this point, no one is willing to commit to anything. And there is no clarity about whether Wilson is ready for the opportunity.

“We have talked to Isiah [Wilson] about continuing to string some days together, positive days,” coach Mike Vrabel said on Monday. “Coming in here and being prepared, practicing, and proving to everybody that he knows what to do and he plays in a manner in which we expect our offensive linemen to play.”

Wilson, who was expected to compete with Kelly for the starting right tackle job in training camp, is one of two first round picks from the 2020 draft class who has not appeared in a regular season game this season. Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Jordan Love (26th overall) is the other.

The 6-foot-6, 311-pound Wilson has had two stints on the COVID-19 reserve list, one in training camp, and another early in the regular season. His second stint lasted more than a month.

A pair of off-field missteps also stunted his progress. In August, he was named in an incident report filed by Tennessee State University police officers after they broke up a party at an off-campus apartment complex. Wilson received a trespass warning while other attendees were charged with drug, curfew and runaway violations. Weeks later, police arrested Wilson and charged him with driving under the influence. He was released from custody soon after. According to reports, Wilson “blew a 0.107 and 0.113 at the time he was pulled over.” The legal limit for blood alcohol content in Tennessee is 0.08.

A sixth-round selection by the Houston Texans in 2013, Quessenberry is in his second season with the Titans. Quessenberry, who has bounced on and off of the practice squad this season and last season, has appeared in six games. He played 18 offensive snaps on Sunday against the Ravens (18 percent). In total, he has logged 33 snaps on the season, all of which in the Titans’ last four games.

A two-year starter at Georgia, Pro Football Focus rated Wilson as the eighth most effective right tackle among Power Five teams in 2019. Wilson was named Freshman All-America by the Football Writers Association of America in 2018 and second-team All-SEC in 2019. He has made a name for himself with his size and strength.

Now, he may finally get to show it in an NFL game.