An athletic passer with a good, strong arm. Has a quick release and the ball consistently comes out with good zip and velocity, capable of driving the ball downfield into tight windows. Does a good job extending the play on the edge, and creating with his legs. Throws very well on the move, and does a good job on rollouts and bootlegs. Is a tough runner that will use the stiff arm at times and has the speed and burst to beat defenders to the edge, making him a dangerous guy that defenses cannot turn their back on. Does a nice job keeping his eyes downfield when he's on the move at times. Shows ability to slide and avoid pressure within the pocket, flashing ability to make subtle moves to create space and find throwing lanes. Has good poise in the pocket and shows ability to not get rattled when things get cluttered and muddy. Can go to his second progression at times, and sometimes does a nice job checking down and getting rid of the ball quickly in the face of pressure. Shows anticipation on some throws and will hit his receivers in stride on crossing patterns and does a good job throwing down the field. At times will showcase the ability to throw guys open. Responds fairly well to adversity and shows smarts, command, and poise on the field.
Lack of height is concerning because he can struggle to find throwing lanes. He'll miss open receivers downfield because of that limited field vision. Will be too quick to tuck and run at times when there are open receivers downfield. Tends to try and escape the pocket when he's forced to go to his second or third progressions. Too often can get skittish in the pocket when he has too much time and looks to escape. Will take some sacks for that reason. His eye level will dip at times when he's on the move. Stares down reads too often and looks for the deep strike rather than the easier completions. Will make some questionable decisions from time to time because he's looking for the big play rather than the smart play. HIs accuracy and anticipation are erratic at times, as he doesn't do a good job leading his receivers. Even when he does anticipate a read, he doesn't always throw the ball with pin-point accuracy. Won't always set his feet when he throws and needs to show more consistency on touch throws such as fades. Will throw across his body too often when he's out on the move. Has had some issues with clock management at the end of games and halves this past year.
Wilson is a player that I liked at N.C. State for years, and was always intrigued by his potential. And he really start to live up to that potential this past year at Wisconsin. He's a player that instead of going through spring practice, he was playing baseball. But he shows the sort of smarts and intangibles, that you could imagine if he does get that off-season work he could have been a much better collegiate player. His biggest obstacle is his lack of height, and it shows many times when he plays. But at the same time, you'll see instances where he is able to overcome that lack of height in a similar capacity as someone like Drew Brees has with his mobility and ability to move within the pocket. So for Wilson, you have much more hope that he can play at a high level despite his obvious lack of height. He's an athletic guy that if he wanted to, he could easily become a very good wide receiver at the next level, but I believe he won't have to because I think he has a lot of upside as a passer. He transferred to Wisconsin as a senior after graduating from N.C. State. State's coach Tom O'Brien wanted him to participate in their spring ball, but he opted to continue with baseball, and thus he was basically told that he would not have the job waiting for him if he returned for his senior year, and thus opted to move onto Wisconsin after being released from his scholarship at N.C. State. At Wisconsin, he won the starting job and got up to speed quickly in the new offense. At State, he was overwhelmingly the best player on the team so he had a lot of bad habits because he had to carry that team, but at Wisconsin with a strong supporting cast around him, he did a much better job managing the game. He was a 4th round draft pick by the Colorado Rockies in 2007. In the past two years of playing A ball in their organization, he batted .229 on 315 at bats, hitting 5 HRs, 26 RBIs, and 19 SBs playing second base.
2011 GAMES WATCHED:
(9/1) vs. UNLV: 2 poor throws
(10/1) vs. Nebraska: Short (<10 yds): 8 of 10 (80%), 68 yds (6.8 YPA), 48 YAC, 0 TDs, 0 INTs, 1 poor throw; Deep (>10 yds): 6 of 10 (60%), 187 yds (18.7 YPA), 17 YAC, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 1 poor throw, 1 drop; 2 throwaways
(12/3) vs. MIchigan St: Short: 12 of 16 (75%), 69 yds (4.3 YPA), 47 YAC, 1 TD, 0 INT, 1 poor throw, 2 drops; Deep: 4 of 9 (44%), 114 yds (12.7 YPA), 5 YAC, 1 TDs, 0 INTs, 1 poor throw, 2 throwaways
(1/2) vs. Oregon: Short: 12 of 13 (92%), 96 yds (7.4 YPA), 52 YAC, 0 TDs, 1 INTs, 1 poor throw; Deep: 7 of 12 (58%), 200 yds (16.7 YPA), 49 YAC, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 3 poor throws, 0 drops, 2 throwaways
2011: at Wisconsin: 14 GP/14 GS (11-3 record), 225 comp., 309 att., 72.8%, 3175 yds, 10.3 avg, 33 TDs, 4 INTs; 338 rush yds, 6 TDs; 3 rec., 56 yds, 1 TD
2010: at N.C. State: 13/13 (9-4)-308-527-58.4-3563-6.8-28-14; 435-9
2009: at N.C. State: 12/12 (5-7)-224-378-59.3-3027-8.0-31-11; 260-4
2008: at N.C. State: 12/11 (5-6)-150-275-54.5-1955-7.1-17-1; 388-4;
2007: at N.C. State: redshirt
- missed 1 start in 2008 due to a concussion, and 1 game due to a hand injury
Despite his physical shortcomings in the height department, I think Wilson has the potential to make it as a starter at the pro level. He's just one of those players that the more you watch him, the more you like. He's got to iron out some issues, and he'll have to overcome some obstacles in order to live up to his potential. But he shows the intangibles, poise, and smarts to be able to overcome them. The first player that he reminds you of when you watch him is Seneca Wallace because of their similar heights, athleticism, and arm strength. But the more you watch, the more you see he has much better potential than Wallace. Wallace is a good backup that can be an effective spot starter that has never been handed the reins. I think Wilson will be at least that, and may be limited from being more than that because of the perceptions surrounding his shortcomings. But I think once he gets into an NFL camp, and coaches work with him, they will become very endeared to him. He has never really worked on his football game in the off-season, always playing baseball, and if he finally does commit to football, you could really start to see him blossom on the next level. So instead of Wallace, the player I think he probably reminds me a bit more of is David Garrard. Wilson is more polished than Garrard is, and has him beat in the intangibles department. But I do think like Garrard, he is the type of guy that will sit for a few years and then get his opportunity and surprise a lot of people with how effective a starter he is. I think he has the potential to be an above average to good starter if he does get time to develop. But I think getting that time early in his career is critical. I think he's smart enough to handle being a rookie starter, and sort of in the same way as Colt McCoy as a rookie, he'll show you a lot of things you like. But unlike McCoy, there aren't questions about his arm strength and physical tools. But I think Wilson will work best if he can grow into that role rather than having it thrust upon him. That way he can get comfortable in a system, and then be much more effective at running it the way it's supposed to be run. If he gets two or more years in one system and is given a good supporting cast, I think he has the potential to be a very good starter. At least as good as Garrard has been in Jacksonville, but potentially I think he can be on par with a guy like the Eagles version of Michael Vick that is much more comfortable and capable pocket passer. And unlike Garrard and Vick, I don't think it's going to take as long for Wilson to reach that point. I do think that 5-7 years down the line, he could be one of the better QBs in the league and be the type of player that is feared both for his passing ability and athleticism similar to how Vick has been at various points in the past two years. The key with him is he is going to have to learn how to be more effective and consistent throwing from the pocket. Playing behind a beefy line like he had at Wisconsin, or like Brees has in New Orleans, and having big, tall targets that can get downfield will be the ideal situation and supporting cast for a player like Wilson. He is a guy that teams are going to have to be willing to move and use his legs to make plays. I think there is definite upside, but like with a player like Aaron Rodgers, he's going to need some time to develop it. If Wilson sits early in his career, I feel fairly confident that by the time his second contract rolls around he could be poised to be a very good starter. Even if he does not live up to his potential, I think he will make a very good backup like Wallace has become.
David Garrard, Jaguars.
Wilson would be a good fit for the Koetter offense because he brings a lot to the table that Garrard did. He would be a very good developmental No. 2 behind Matt Ryan, that unlike a lot of prospects does have the potential to push and supplant Ryan down the road if he develops. But that will only happen if Ryan doesn't show the progress under Koetter. But where Wilson works in Atlanta is that he's definitely more mobile and a better vertical passer than Ryan, which makes him different than Ryan and allowing him to stand out. Wilson is a player that could come in immediately and be the No. 2 in Atlanta and should be somewhat effective. And you could definitely see by the time his third or fourth year if he has some opportunities to start as an injury replacement, the Falcons could potentially move him for picks. I don't think a QB controversy would develop, but it's possible that Wilson could potentially supplant Ryan down the road. But Ryan would have to be really underwhelming for that happen, which isn't likely. So it's a remote possibility. But he's definitely a player that could be a good developmental option for the Falcons.
Wilson's a bit raw and is not your classic franchise QB model. But as a second day pick, he is good value because of his upside. A team that is looking to groom him down the road to be the starter, but will give him the requisite time to sit the bench and get comfortable could take him in the late second round. But because he's not a guy that is a guy that is a good bet to come in and be a guy that can take the wheel and drive the bus in his first two years, he probably is a safer value in Round 3.
1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite
Arm Strength: 8.0
Decision Making: 7.0
Pocket Awareness: 6.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.