2021 NFL Draft: Marco Wilson Player Profile

Marco Wilson NFL Draft
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Marco Wilson NFL Draft Overview

Position: Cornerback
Height: 5’11-1/2″
Weight: 191lb
School: Florida Gators

Pro Day Measurables

Vertical Jump: 43.5in
Broad Jump: 136in
Shuttle: 4.25 sec
Three Cone: 6.88 sec
40-yd Dash: 4.37 sec
Bench Press: 26 reps

Marco Wilson NFL Draft Profile

Marco Wilson’s college career has been defined by a single moment. That moment, which came against LSU, in his final season for the Florida Gators, has steered the conversation about Wilson as he heads into this year’s draft as somewhat of an outside prospect.

Wilson’s college career may have ended on a sour note, but the beginning was historic. Named a starter as a true freshman on opening day in 2017, Wilson became one of only four corners in school history to do so. Given that two of those on that list, Joe Haden and Janoris Jenkins, have garnered All-Pro honors in the NFL, the future looked bright for the Fort Lauderdale native. Starting all 11 games that year, Wilson totalled 10 pass breakups, the most by a true freshman since Vernon Hargreaves in 2013.

Unfortunately, Wilson was unable to continue his fine form heading into his second year in Florida. He started only two games before a season-ending ACL injury saw him earn a medical redshirt for the year. However, 2018 was only a minor blip, as Wilson has been a mainstay for the Gators during his time in Gainesville. Throughout the last two years, he has established himself as a defensive presence for Florida’s defence. Starting in all but one game throughout his college career, Wilson leaves Florida totalling 103 tackles and 3 interceptions.

Overshadowing his solid performances in Florida is that incident against LSU in 2020. After stopping LSU on a 3rd and 10 late in the fourth quarter, Wilson launched an opposition player’s cleat down the field. The incident attracted flags for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving LSU the first down and ultimately costing Florida the game and their playoff hopes. It is difficult to say to what extent this has contributed to Wilson’s draft grade, which currently sits in the later rounds.

Strengths

  • Good football IQ
  • Good awareness and reaction time in space
  • Unafraid of contact when disrupting passes
  • Better tackler than his size might suggest
  • Viable blitz threat from outside
  • Capable of playing both outside and nickel corner
  • Top-level speed
  • Pro day exhibited elite athleticism

Weaknesses

  • Not physical enough at the line of scrimmage
  • Seems less comfortable fighting receivers throughout their routes
  • Although he grabbed a few interceptions, the tape shows countless opportunities to create turnovers; playmaking ability must improve
  • Technique is unrefined; athleticism often accounts for it
  • His ability in off-man coverage can be exploited due to his lack of physicality throughout routes; route technicians in the NFL will create space easily

Teams with need at position: Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos

NFL Comparison: Casey Hayward

The Bottom Line on Marco Wilson

Talent-wise, Wilson is a far better prospect than his draft projection might suggest. In a class dominated by man coverage specialists, Wilson offers a vastly different skill set. He is sharp and twitchy, with a good football IQ honed in an off-man scheme. He diagnoses plays quickly and is aggressive meeting the ball at the receiver, demonstrating a tackling ability that bemoans his smaller stature. His athleticism, put on display on his pro day, is exemplary but has at times helped to mask weaknesses in his game. Namely, he is largely a reactive player, relying on his speed and savvy to beat receivers, rather than physically imposing himself on them. This is mostly why his skill set seems to pale in comparison to the draft’s top corners like Patrick Surtain and Jaycee Horn.

He is somewhat overly comfortable with space in man coverage, which will be exploited by the NFL’s best route runners. Therein, he is best with a team that employs a lot of zone coverages, specifically ones that see corners patrolling the shorter areas of the field, rather than deep zones. This way, his awareness and play recognition can be most effective, whilst also offering a potential blitz option in more aggressive systems. Aside from this, any potential character issues stemming from the incident against LSU should not be overplayed; an innocuous yet catastrophic moment should not plague what was a good and otherwise spotless college career.

Marco Wilson has the potential to be an effective player in the NFL, given time to hone his abilities and expand himself in terms of schematic versatility. If he can improve his playmaking ability in the NFL, then he could be a late-round steal in 2021.

 

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