Junior 6’1″ 184
- Plays off man coverage very well
- Doesn’t allow much space
- Good at tracking down the ball
- Quick ability to adjust
Although not one of the first three or even five guys you think of with this years stacked defensive back class, Howard Wilson showed he can be a play maker for his defense, and a play disruptor for his opposing offense. In 2016, Wilson put up his best year yet with 5 interceptions 10 passes defended and 54 tackles with 2.5 tackles for a loss of yards.
One reason a lot of eyes may not be shooting Wilson’s way is because 2016 was his first full season as a starting corner. Only starting three games his freshman year, and tearing his ACL in his second year. Over three years, only 29 games, Wilson had 107 tackles, nine interceptions, and 15 passes defended. Among his fellow corners that also played three seasons, he put up better stats than Gareon Conley, and similar stats to Teez Tabor just to name a few. Had he gone back to college for his senior year, it’s safe to say he could have been a top name cornerback in the 2018 draft.
When watching Wilson, the first thing you notice is his off man coverage. Staying back around five to eight yards off his receiver allowed him to make quick hits to either the receiver or the ball to end the play shortly after it started. It also made his receivers hard to burn past him because once they got near Wilson, he was on them like glue. Even when he did allow a little room, he was able to keep close enough to make a play on the ball. Other times when there would be a little curl route so the receiver could have some separation from Wilson, he was able to quickly adjust and come through with a play. Whether that be making the tackle the second the ball was caught, or jumping in front of the receiver to intercept the ball, Wilson always seems to be in the right spot.
One of the best games I saw him play was against Cincinnati in 2016, with 8 tackles, and 2 interceptions. One of which was for a defensive touchdown. In this game you really see how well he lurks around the play. Always in a good position to tackle the running back while at the same time ready to strike his receiver. The second he saw the ball was handed off, he went right towards the carrier, instead of letting the runner come to him and potentially miss the tackle. Watch for yourselves.
The only real knocks someone could give Wilson is lack of full-time starter experience and a smaller frame than most corners in the draft and in the NFL. But as of in play talent, I honestly didn’t see many flaws in his game. I can easily see him going as a 3rd rounder. Chances are wherever he is drafted, he wont be No. 1 or No. 2 right away if at all. But if any coach is concerned about his lack of experience, he will have enough time to get more familiar with his system. Given the opportunity I think Howard Wilson can be a solid, reliable corner that can add nice complementary to a teams secondary as a number 3 or 4 corner to help the underneath coverage.