Vrabel Sees Wilson's Career at Crossroads
Mike Vrabel is sure he knows the type of person Isaiah Wilson is.
How things will turn out for the Tennessee Titans’ first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft? Well, the third-year head coach can’t really say.
“Having some setbacks and some adversity early on in any player's career can kind of go one of two ways,” Vrabel said Tuesday. “You can make some positive change and get this going. Or guys don't, and they fade away.
“We're all going to face adversity in anything that we do in life. This just happens to be with football, and then the things that happen outside of it. So hopefully we can all come together and help, and Isaiah can improve and start helping the football team.”
Wilson, the 29th overall pick in the draft, was expected to compete to be the Titans’ starter at right tackle this season.
Instead, he has yet to get going. The 6-foot-6, 350-pound offensive lineman was arrested and charged with DUI last Friday after he was involved in a single-car accident. Earlier during the preseason, he was cited in an incident report when he attempted to flee as Tennessee State University law enforcement personnel shut down an off-campus party.
Wilson also is currently unavailable to practice because he is on the Titans’ COVID-19 reserve list for the second time. He also spent a brief period there at the start of training camp.
“Certainly, we don't condone that type of behavior whatsoever,” Vrabel said of the latest misstep. “It's unacceptable. But as long as there's an honest effort to improve, we're going to put forth that effort as a coaching staff and as an organization to help any player with any issues that they have.
“… I think that Isaiah is a good-hearted kid, a good-natured kid. He has been since the time that I've been with him. He's been engaged, been engaged in the meetings.”
Wilson, at 21, is the youngest player currently under contract with the Titans (he is six days younger than inside linebacker David Long). A New York native, he left the University of Georgia after three seasons despite the opinion of some draft experts that he could use more time to develop.
Tennessee’s decision to draft him earned him a four-year, $11.6 million contract, which included a signing bonus of just less than $6 million.
“We're comfortable with the person that we brought in here,” Vrabel said. “I don't think that Isaiah’s a bad person. I do think that part of what we do as coaches is to be able to get these guys to help us and help the team win, but it's also about helping them off the field and their growth and the maturity and the men that they become.”