Buffalo Bills: Can George Wilson Continue Success in 2012?

Josh CembellinCorrespondent IJune 28, 2012

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 30: George Wilson #37 of the Buffalo Bills celebrates his interception with Jairus Byrd #31 during NFL game action against the Washington Redskins at Rogers Centre on October 30, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Buffalo Bills safety George Wilson had a terrific 2011 season. And why wouldn’t he?

Wilson is a leader, a hard worker, a high-character player and someone who puts as much effort into football as he does into the community. In essence, he’s one of those guys you just want to root for.  

Embracing his relatively new opportunity as a starter in the NFL, he set or tied career highs last season in tackles (106), solo tackles (78), forced fumbles (two), interceptions (four) and passes defended (six).

And that was without the monstrous defensive line the Bills have heading into 2012.

It’s not hard to see similarities between Wilson and another Bills star on the offensive side of the ball—Fred Jackson. Though Jackson was a small-school player out of Coe College and Wilson played at Arkansas, both entered the league with a big chip on their shoulders.

Both Jackson and Wilson went undrafted, and both had to scratch and claw their ways onto an active roster. In fact, if there’s one thing Bills fans can thank former head coach Dick Jauron for, it’s seeing enough in both players to give them a real opportunity to compete with the Bills.

The other common trait between Jackson and Wilson is that both players put their heads down, go to work, focus and produce.

During Jackson’s contract negations this offseason, we rarely heard a peep from the star running back, even though it was obvious how successful he had been since joining the team. Similarly, Wilson quietly earned himself a contract extension last offseason. In each case, the player let his play speak for itself.

Though both players are 31-year-old veterans, the beauty is that both also have less tread on their tires than typical 31-year-old NFL players. Because of their journeys up to this point, they remained relatively fresh in their early years.

Especially Wilson.

As a safety, Wilson certainly takes less of a beating than Jackson, and his play the past few seasons has proven as much. According to BuffaloBills.com, he is only the second defensive back in Bills history to post consecutive multi-sack seasons (2008 and 2009).

Coming off such a huge season in 2011, it’s easy to be optimistic about Wilson’s potential in 2012.

The Bills' defense added two explosive pass-rushers in Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. A healthy Kyle Williams is returning to pair with Marcell Dareus. Stephon Gilmore was added as a new promising rookie cornerback. If that weren’t enough, Wilson will be playing next to an up-and-coming superstar in Jairus Byrd.

The outlook for George Wilson in 2012 is bright. And with another solid season, the outlook for the Buffalo Bills could be even brighter.