Amid and in wake of Isaiah Wilson’s self-destructive falling out with the Tennessee Titans, the blame game was popular.
More often than not, general manager Jon Robinson received the brunt of it. Fans continuously questioned him and his decision-making as Wilson, the Titans’ first-round pick in 2020, continuously proved to be a headache for the team with one poor decision after the other.
But according to three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan, and former offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, who took the Atlanta Falcons head coaching job in January, the brakes should be pumped on that narrative.
Lewan and Smith both shared their thoughts on the situation on the most recent episode of Bussin’ With The Boys, the Barstool Sports podcast Lewan hosts with his friend and former Titans linebacker, Will Compton.
Both said that last year’s virtual draft process due to the COVID-19 pandemic was a factor in what eventually unfolded for Wilson.
“I think a lot of people are upset with Jon Robinson for picking him in the first round,” Lewan said. “However, I think with the Zoom stuff and how the draft went, it’s really hard to get a good feel on guys. There’s a big difference between shaking somebody’s hand and the Zoom thing popping up and having a real conversation. It’s easy to fake that stuff. I don’t think Jon’s to blame at all.
“I think the kid [Wilson] needs help.”
Before Smith made his comments, Compton added that Robinson was the easiest person people could label as the “scapegoat.”
“Even in hindsight, in a normal year I don’t think he could have predicted [what ultimately happened],” Smith said. “You’d like to say now with all of the knowledge you have and what happened, you would say ‘oh you would have predicted that.’ But going back and looking at it, no. With the Zooms, to your point, with all the different prospects you don’t get a feel for them.”
The Titans traded Wilson to the Miami Dolphins in March. He has since been released.
Not long after that, a report surfaced that the troubled 22-year-old was arrested on multiple charges after a high-speed chase in January, just days before Titans’ Divisional Round playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens.
Wilson was charged with fleeing or attempting to elude an officer for a felony offense; speeding in a construction zone; reckless driving; marijuana possession of less than an ounce; possession and use of drug-related objects; and reckless conduct.
That incident followed numerous others, and it all started in training camp. Wilson was named in a Tennessee State University police report in August after officers broke up an off-campus party. Authorities issued Wilson a trespass warning in wake of that incident.
In September, police arrested and charged Wilson for driving under the influence. He blew a 0.107 and 0.103 at the time officers pulled him over, according to reports. The legal limit for blood alcohol content in Tennessee it 0.08.
Wilson also spent two separate stints on the COVID-19 reserve list, the second time for more than a month (early September to mid-October).
He played just four snaps in all and ultimately ended the season on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness (NFI) list so that he could deal with “personal issues.”
The 6-foot-6, 331-pounder was expected to compete for the starting right tackle job in training camp before his concerning off-field behavior took the forefront.