Kyle Wilson, 2010 NFL Draft
5’ 10” 190 lbs
Strengths: Plays the Run Well, Excels in Man Coverage, Good Hands.
Weaknesses: Size, Tackling Ability, Mental Game.
By Bryan Dietzler
Kyle Wilson’s popularity really started to climb during the 2009 season and at the end of the year people started talking about him as being a possible first rounder at the cornerback position. Wilson helped lead a pretty potent Boise State pass defense and is ready to take on wide receivers in the NFL. However, there are many that question just how good he is and how well he will do in the NFL. Let’s take a look at Wilson and see what he has to offer an NFL team.
On the upside, Wilson has the mental stability to play the cornerback position and play it well. Cornerbacks need a short memory in the NFL and Wilson has it so he is doing well there. He is also very confident which is ideal of cornerbacks and believes that he can play the position well. He had a great week at the Senior Bowl and got a lot of notice from NFL scouts. He is also a four year starter which means he has a lot of experience at the position. He also didn’t miss any games because of injuries proving his durability.
Wilson is also able to figure out routes while covering receivers and can see when the ball is being thrown to. Wilson is known for being a regular in the weight room and has grown to be a leader both on the field and in the locker room. When it comes to run support Wilson has shown that he is willing to jump in and support against the run but his coverage generally takes him away from the run and therefore he doesn’t make a lot of tackles in the running game. He doesn’t get taken in by play action fakes either which is great for a starting cornerback.
Wilson can play both man and zone coverage which is vital for any NFL defense. He does play man coverage a little better and has the hip flexion to stick with his man during the entire route. He also uses his hands very well when covering receivers. Wilson is also very well away where he is in coverage and can make quick and calculated breaks towards the ball. As a result, he is very productive in making interceptions and could be a true ball hawk in the NFL. Wilson also has good closing speed (when closing in on the receiver after the catch). Wilson will also go for the interception instead of waiting for it to come to him.
Mechanically, Wilson makes his transitions well and flips his hips well when getting into coverage. He is also able to change direction well enough when needed. In regards to his size, he has solid size for the position which will help him compete but he may struggle against taller receivers. He is also a good athlete with the kind of mechanics that make him a good corner. He can move out of his backpedal smooth and gets his hips flipped around quick without losing and speed in making the change.
He also gets breaks on the ball and has great body control. Wilson can get up high to make the interception and is able to time his jumps well enough to where he comes down with the interception. Wilson has shown some signs of being a hard hitter as well but his tackling technique leaves some questions.
When it comes to playing special teams, he has some punt return skill and does have the speed to run it back. He could be a real star as a kick return specialist in the NFL. Wilson has the ability to make people miss when he returns punts and kickoffs which could raise his stock. He is patient in his returns and works to set up his blocks before moving through holes and on towards pay dirt. He also has great hands which will allow him to catch punts and kickoffs as well as make critical interceptions.
On the downside, Wilson hasn’t had that many solo tackles during his career and when it comes to technique he doesn’t take offensive players on “head on” preferring to get low and take swipes at the ball carrier.
When it comes to speed, if he gets beat, Wilson has a hard time catching back up to make the play from behind. His size also places some Wilson does have some trouble locating the ball in the air and adjust his body to the throw to bat it down and away from the receiver. He also has trouble bumping and contacting the wide receiver in the air which has led to some penalties.
Tackling has been a bit of an issue for Wilson especially when he is forced to make tackles in the open field against the run. He has been known to get low and take swipes at runners as they move on by him in the secondary and he needs to work on taking on the ball carrier head on to bring him down. He should get a pretty good education on this in the NFL and will be able to become a much better tackler.
Wilson will have his struggles against bigger wide receivers as well and will have to learn how to be much more aggressive and much more physical when going up against them. He will also need to learn how to work through blocks better and make plays. Wilson’s lack of size will also hurt him when trying to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage as well.
While coaches will like a player that is tough and plays aggressive they don’t want to have a guy who will cause problems on their team and Wilson has been known to stir things up a little bit while on the field at Boise State. He will need to grow up quick in the NFL.
While at Boise State, Wilson earned the following honors:
2008: First team All-WAC cornerback, second team all-conference punt returner, Boise State co-special teams Player of the Year. Phil Steele All WAC first team on defense and second team as a punt returner. WAC Special Teams Player of the Week, Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List.
2007: Second team All-WAC, preseason All-WAC team by The Sporting News and All-WAC Academic honors.
2006: Honorable Mention Freshman All-American by The Sporting News and All-WAC Academic honors.
Wilson went to high school at Piscataway High School in New Jersey. He was named MVP of the New Jersey state championship game as both a junior and senior, named first team All-State as a wide receiver as well as All-Area, All-County, All-Conference and All-Division honors.
Final Word: After the combine and workouts, Wilson has thrust himself further up the draft boards and now there is talk about him going in the late first round. The only other real talent at the position ahead of him is Florida’s Joe Haden so Wilson could see himself go in the bottom of the first to the top of the second round in the 2010 NFL Draft. If he can correct the issues that have plagued him in college, then team that manages to get him will get a high quality cornerback that they should be able to count on for several seasons.
Predicted Pick: Late first to early second round.