The New England Patriots have selected Safety Tavon Wilson out of Illinois with the 48’th overall pick in the NFL draft. We all knew that a focus would be made to help firm up the secondary, especially with such great picks being used to shore up the rest of the Defensive line. Not as big a name as the first two picks, Wilson still had a solid season at Illinois and had better than average fundamental skills. His tackling is his strong point, which was a major issue for the Patriots secondary in 2011.
Here’s a quick look at ESPN’s Scouting Report.
Overall instincts are slightly above-average. Can get caught peeking in the backfield and biting on play fakes working against play-action and is also vulnerable to effective double moves. Does a nice job of marking receivers coming into and out of his area in zone coverage. Displays the awareness to go for the strip when attempting tackles when possible. Displays above-average diagnostic skills as a run defender and reacts quickly. Has experience and versatility lining up at several different positions throughout career.
Cover Skills –
Opens hips smoothly and displays a quick change of direction. Gathers quickly at the top of pedal when breaking forward. Displays some tightness and can lose momentum when having to make sudden 180 degree turn. Possesses a good closing burst and can cut down separation with the ball in the air. Can hold up as a half defender but his questionable overall long speed will put a cap on his overall range with middle of the field responsibilities.
Ball Skills –
Aggressive and strong playing the ball and can rip the ball away from receivers. Possesses adequate hands and can pull in routine interceptions. However lacks elite playmaking ability to be a difference maker in the back end.
Run Support –
Aggressive and willing in this area. Takes solid angles and displays an above-average close in pursuit. Can struggle to get off of blocks when aligned near the box. Possesses very good body control as a tackler and does a sound job of wrapping up to get ball carriers off their feet.