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Payton Wilson 2024 NFL Draft Profile

Freak Athlete With 4.4 Speed

Payton Wilson NFL Draft Overview

Position: Linebacker
Height: 6’4 (Unofficial)

Weight: 238 lbs (Unofficial)

Age: 23 years old

School: NC State

More 2024 NFL Draft Profiles

NFL offenses have become more and more about putting your best athletes in space. So, on defense, you have to have great athletes who play with insane ferocity to win. That describes one of my draft favorites, Payton Wilson. Wilson was a four-star recruit out of Hillsborough, North Carolina, and committed to North Carolina State University. The star linebacker is a warrior fighting a major knee injury from high school and a shoulder injury in college. Payton Wilson was the best LB in college football when on the field. Wilson won the 2023 Dick Butkus Award given to the best Linebacker in college football. He amassed 138 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks during his historic senior season. He has elite intensity and speed and physicality, but is he first-round? Let’s dig into the film!

2024 NFL Draft: Payton Wilson Scouting Report

WILSON’s Strengths

  • He has elite speed and acceleration. He runs sideline to sideline with ease and beats the offensive lineman to the spot when coming downhill.
  • He closes in on the ball carrier quickly with acceleration and ferocity to make tackles and sacks.
  • He can be a weapon as a blitzer in a creative scheme. He has a good cross chop and speed rush to get to QB
  • He is a good size for the LB position, and he can put more weight and muscle with his well-built frame.
  • Terrific film in zone coverages. He reads routes and the Quarterback’s eyes well to make plays on the football.
  • He has good hips and quickness in man coverage and could do more at the next level.
  • He takes good angles and is a good tackler in space.

WILSON’s Weakness

  • Extensive, long injury history of hamstring injuries, major shoulder injury, and torn ACL. He missed multiple seasons, one in high school due to an ACL and one in college due to shoulder surgery.
  • Needs to get stronger to better shed blocks instead of relying on his quickness. The NFL has better offensive linemen; quickness does not always work.
  • Turns 24 before the start of the upcoming. It could be a turn-off for NFL teams.
  • He needs to be schemed up to rush the player.

Projection: Early Second Round Pick

NFL Comparison: Taller Quincey Williams

Best Fits: Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens, and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Bottom Line

Payton Wilson is a freak athlete and a first-round pick talent. The 4.4 speed, the quickness, the fluidity, and, most importantly, the physicality stand out. Wilson is one of the most impressive linebacker films I’ve seen in years, and I have a high grade for him. My NFL pro comparison was Jets Quincy Williams. Wilson is taller than Williams, but like Williams, Wilson is a freak side-line-to-side-line athlete who can cover at an elite level. The NFL craves linebackers like Wilson, and many of the top Linebackers are the same archetype as Wilson. Unfortunately, Wilson has a major injury history and could have a risky prospect. However, he is worth the risk.
Main Photo: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


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