I've got to admit, the idea of yet another undersized cornerback in the Seahawks' defensive backfield doesn't exactly make me want to jump with joy, but by all accounts Josh Wilson out of Maryland is a very nice pick for the team.
He brings a different dynamic to the secondary than anyone else already back there. He's a burner who runs a 4.3 40, something the team just doesn't have right now. Remember, this secondary has had a habit over the past few years of getting burned by fast receivers (Bernard Berrian or Torry Holt, anyone?).
Although he only had two interceptions in his career at Maryland, perhaps the most telling stat is this: 2 receptions, 19 yards. That's how man-child receiver and No. 2 overall pick Calvin Johnson performed against Wilson in their matchup last season. Frankly, they won't come any bigger or faster than Johnson in the NFL this year, so that should assuage some fears about his size.
It's interesting that the Seahawks went with another corner, given all the talk about needing depth on the offensive and defensive line. But it makes a lot of sense given the injury issues at the position last season. By all accounts Trufant, Herndon and Williams should be ready to go for the season, but you never know.
Additionally, Wilson's return skills could become a valuable asset. While Nate Burleson performed at a near Pro Bowl level in that role last year, if the team decides to pull the trigger and send Darrell Jackson elsewhere, they probably won't want their starting WR in that position.
(Oh, and about that Jackson trade to San Francisco? The 49ers just took WSU stud Jason Hill in the third round, for what that's worth.)
So, with that, enjoy some of the following takes on Wilson. If you need a visual primer first, check out this video at the Washington Post of Wilson's highlights at Maryland -- most of it centers around that matchup with Johnson.
From NFL.com's Draft Analyzer:
Wilson is a very good DB. He doesn't have great height. He's also a very good kick returner. His father, Tim, was a fullback for the Houston Oilers who did a great job blocking for Hall of Famer Earl Campbell. Solid person, solid player.From Scott Wright's NFL Draft Countdown:
Strengths: Has phenomenal speed...A tremendous natural athlete with excellent quickness, agility and leaping ability...Tough and physical guy who plays a lot bigger than he is and will help against the run...Smart with good instincts...Hips are fluid and he can turn and run with anyone...Is also a terrific return man...Has good bloodlines.Click here for Wilson's combine interview.
Weaknesses: Does not have the height you look for...Does not have great hands and while he gets to a lot of balls he doesn't rack up many interceptions...Is only an average tackler...Can get out-muscled by bigger receivers and blockers...Still needs a little technique work, especially with his backpedal...Is he going to hold up physically?