Fourth Round, 112th Pick
Like that of a couple other big-name quarterbacks, USC's Matt Barkley and Oklahoma's Landry Jones, the NFL draft stock of Arkansas' Tyler Wilson may have taken a hit after he decided to stay in school.
With three of his top receivers moving on to the NFL and his offensive-minded head coach being fired, Wilson was placed in a very difficult position in his senior season.
Despite taking a step back on the field, he still displayed the kind of mental and physical toughness that will help him take his licks at the next level.
Though a down year has many questioning Wilson’s NFL potential, he still is one of the most intriguing signal-callers in this class.
|+ Keeps his eyes downfield at all times||- Inconsistent ball placement|
|+ Senses the rush, good pocket awareness||- Ball flutters too much, small hands (8 3/4")|
|+ Tremendous toughness, a competitor with moxie||- Occasionally erratic decision-making|
|+ Displays mobility, shows the ability to improvise||- Adequate physical tools, roughly 6'2", 215 lbs., with a 4.95 40 time|
Tyler Wilson possesses relatively average physical tools.
At just 6’2”, 215 pounds, he is slightly undersized for an NFL signal-caller. His ability to escape the pocket and create windows, however, makes a lack of size less of an issue.
What actually may be more concerning: Wilson has small hands (8 3/4"), which could hurt him at the next level. We occasionally see this show up on tape, as he cannot grip the ball as completely as others, leading to many “wounded duck” throws.
Athletically, Wilson once again grades out as average. While he ran a relatively poor 4.95 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, Wilson appears to move around better than test numbers indicate.
What he may lack in physical gifts, Tyler Wilson more than makes up for with strong intangibles.
A resilient and vocal leader, he exhibits incredible toughness on and off the field. He was named ateam captain for the Razorbacks both as a junior and senior. While in Fayetteville, Wilson became the first quarterback in Arkansas history to win first team All-SEC honors.
He is very impressive in interviews, displaying confidence and charisma. Though he may be a bit older than the average quarterback prospect (24 years old in August), Wilson’s maturity actually seems to be an advantage.
Unfortunately, teams may avoid him on draft weekend due to a history of head injuries. After being knocked out of a game vs. New Mexico in 2011, concussion-like symptoms kept Wilson from playing in this year’s contest against Alabama.
Playing in Bobby Petrino’s power spread system, along with the talent around him, made Wilson much more successful in 2011 than he was as a senior. He usually operated out of the shotgun or pistol formation in the Razorbacks spread offense, but he looked natural when asked to play under center.
Throughout his college career, Wilson displayed enough arm strength and the willingness to challenge tight windows.
He shows velocity on throws outside the numbers and good zip to all areas in the intermediate level. His deep ball will need some work, but he flashes the ability to push the ball beyond 50 yards downfield.
Wilson occasionally will throw “wounded ducks.” Perhaps this is due to his small hands and difficulties gripping the football. I mention this because sometimes when he tries to rip it, the ball will come out low or wobbly.
Tyler Wilson may not be inaccurate, but he is inconsistent with his placement, throwing too many bad balls. His receivers may have dropped an ungodly amount of passes this past season, but just as frequently, his throws were off the mark.
He displays control and touch, but usually does not throw with much anticipation. While he possesses the necessary arm strength, his deep accuracy leaves much to be desired.
One area in which Wilson does showcase impressive accuracy is when he throws on the move.
As a whole, Wilson displays smooth mechanics with a compact throwing motion. Despite usually operating in a shotgun formation, he appears quick and fluid in his drops.
He does have lapses in this area, however. Too often Wilson will resort to a sidearm delivery, which is a bit of concern as he is already just 6’2”. Additionally, he gets a little lazy at times with his footwork, making him prone to throwing off of his back foot, especially in the face of a blitz.
In the pocket, Wilson demonstrates remarkable toughness to stand in and take a hit. Typically, his pocket awareness is very impressive, as he feels the rush very well.
When challenged with pressure, he shows the ability to break the pocket and keep his eyes downfield while on the move. Wilson displays maneuverability against the rush and generally speaking, utilizing efficient footwork to put himself into position to make a play with his arm or feet.
Though it does not occur enough for it to be considered a knock, some jumpiness in the pocket does reveal itself from time to time.
Wilson is a decent athlete who shows the ability to gain yards when the play breaks down. His mobility is certainly an asset on 3rd-and-manageable, where he displays good awareness.
While mobile, he is not fast enough to make much of an impact as a runner and probably will not appeal to teams that want to mix in more read-option concepts.
Unlike many young quarterback prospects, he does a nice job of protecting his body in space, knowing when to slide.
How does he attack Defenses?
Wilson is a gunslinger by nature. He likes to take chances and is more than willing to take a hit to make the throw.
Wilson may not be the best at reading defenses. Though he occasionally can be noticed going through his progressions, he often misses open receivers or throws into traffic unnecessarily. There is a tendency for him to stare down his targets and test tight windows.
That said, he is an effective play-action passer and does very well with a moving pocket. His ability to keep his eyes downfield while on the move will be a tremendous asset at the next level. The following screen caps illustrate a play in which Wilson impressively demonstrates this quality.
First, while scanning the field, he can sense the pass rush coming from his right side. With his receivers’ routes still developing, he is forced to try to prolong the play.
In this frame, we see Wilson breaking the pocket and rolling out to his left. Notice how he keeps his eyes downfield at all times while waiting for a passing lane to open.
Finally, Wilson creates a window and delivers an accurate ball on the move. This ability to keep his composure with a moving pocket separates him from other quarterbacks in this class.
Future Role/Scheme Versatility
As a junior, Wilson looked like he may be a top-10 pick. Unfortunately the Arkansas program fell on hard times during his last year. He was victimized by drops throughout the season, but his play slipped down the stretch.
I believe he has the potential to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. His skill set is very intriguing, but Wilson’s overall efficiency and effectiveness leave something to be desired. As a rookie, he may be best suited as a backup.
Schematically, Wilson is not necessarily limited but he is not a perfect fit for any particular offense. The team that drafts him may emphasize his ability to improvise and operate on the move.
Draft Projection: Second or Third Round