Wilson played middle linebacker in college, but scouts projected him at outside linebacker or perhaps defensive end at the pro level. He was rated as the top middle linebacker in the draft and it was though his projected draft placement would fall somewhere in the second round. The Saints were able to get him in the third round.
What’s impressive about Wilson is the sheer speed his possesses for such a big man. He stands 6 foot 4 and weighs 250 pounds, but still managed to post the fastest time at the combine this year of any linebacker when he wowed on-lookers with a 4.46 forty-yard dash.
Speed doesn’t necessarily translate to making a player a day one starter or impact player at the NFL level. Wilson is a superb athlete, but with questionable footwork, instincts and coverage skills.
He has a long way to go before becoming a full time starter. However his immediate insertion into the lineup will by tied to the return of Scott Shanle.
It’s assumed that Jonathan Casillas, who was awarded the starting weak side linebacker spot in the preseason before injuring his Achilles, will once again be tapped as the starter in 2011. Wilson will be groomed as a strong side linebacker if and when the NFL resumes operation.
Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has probably spent countless hours already thinking of way to use Wilson and that blazing fast speed, and linebacker coach Joe Vitt is probably chomping at the bit to get Wilson coached up and hopefully up to speed as soon as possible.
Assuming there is a 2011 season Wilson will surely get to see the field on clear run plays and to rush the passer off the edge. It’s not likely he will be trusted in pass coverage just yet, but give it time and the Saints may finally have a play-making linebacker to pair with Jonathan Vilma.