NFL coaches like confidence in their cornerbacks; it's a tough job that requires cockiness and a short memory. Wilson's coaches with the Gators probably weren't too happy when he told reporters before their annual game against Tennessee that "nobody has ever seen a duck pull a truck" and that the "Gators are going to win, simple as that." Unfortunately, his team did lose to the Volunteers for the first time in 11 years. Nevertheless, the second-team All-SEC selection (3.5 tackles for loss, three INT, six pass break-ups) generally backed up his talk during 2016, combining with Jalen "Teez" Tabor to form one of the best corner duos in the country. Big things were expected coming into the year, as Wilson was a nine-game starter in 2015 (two INT, five PBU) and started twice as a true freshman the year before (22 tackles, INT, three PBU).
Prototypical size for cornerback or safety spot. Big and physical. Very competitive. Willing to accept challenge of taking on a team's top wideout. Uses play strength to overcome some athletic and speed deficiencies. Can maul receivers off line of scrimmage and eliminate them from a route if they don't get clean release against his press. Plus anticipation in coverage. Makes quick reads on in-breaking routes and attacks in front of the route. Finished career with six interceptions. Responsive to play-action keys. Good feel for when to step downhill as tackler. Plays off perimeter blocks quickly. Willing to stick his nose in as a tackler. Willing to be the hammer and not just the nail when it comes to challenging running backs.
Hips and feet can be exceedingly sticky in his transitions. Will fight his feet a little in his backpedal and shuffle. Footwork average in space. When feet fail him, he opts to use his hands. Could see spike in illegal contact and holding penalties if asked to play corner early in career. Reliant upon strength and grit in man coverage over speed and athleticism. Plays too tall which hinders click-and-close burst. Allows too much separation against complex routes. Below average reactive athleticism for the position and will struggle to carry long speed.
Sources Tell Us
"He may not be that clean with his coverage but I would rather go to war with him over (Teez) Tabor any day. He's big and he's tough. Tabor has more talent but Wilson just has to find the right spot because he's got the mindset to be a pro player." -- AFC executive
Wilson rose to prominence this year after finishing with three interceptions and allowing fewer than 40 percent of the passes his way to be completed. His size and physicality combined with issues in staying glued to quick receivers could lead him to the safety spot where his instincts, ball skills and willingness to tackle will all serve him well.