As I’ve been reviewing prospects for the 2013 Draft, I’ve been focusing on their games against top defenses. So when it came time to watch Tyler Wilson, I immediately turned to the Arkansas Razorbacks game against LSU. In theory, watching him take on college football’s top defense should provide some meaningful insight into his ability to play at the next level. But, unfortunately, Arkansas’ offensive line was so overmatched against LSU’s front seven that Wilson had little chance of success. By my count he was pressured on 16 of 29 dropbacks, so while it was a brutal performance, it’s tough to place too much of the blame on Wilson.
As always, you can download the chart of this game here.
I’m not putting too much stock in this performance, but it is worth noting that the constant pressure got to Wilson. There were a few plays on which Wilson had a reasonable amount of time in the pocket, but took off running at the first sign of pressure. And even when he did stand in the pocket, he was so preoccupied with LSU’s front seven that he wasn’t seeing wide open receivers.
Here’s a great example of the pressure forcing Wilson to miss open receivers. This is his 9th dropback of the game, and he had already been pressured six times. As he drops back, a nice pocket forms around him and he clearly has the time to make a play. But when his downfield options aren’t open, he tucks and runs. Only after he’s on the move does he notice a wide open Greg Childs.
Again, it’s tough to take much away from this game given the pressure, but I was impressed with Wilson’s accuracy throughout the game. 15 of his 20 aimed passes were on target, including five of seven while under pressure. Due to the constant pressure the vast majority of these were short passes (he attempted just six beyond seven yards downfield) but it’s still encouraging to see him making the right decision and delivering a catchable ball.
This isn’t exactly what Wilson’s known for, but he demonstrated the ability to make plays with his feet. He’s no Michael Vick or Tim Tebow, but he can definitely be as effective as a guy like Aaron Rodgers. Ideally we won’t see him run this often in 2012, but he showed that when he has to, he’s can be threat.
It’s tough to see a future 1st-rounder in this performance, but it’s also rare to see any elite prospect pressured at this rate. Andrew Luck certainly never saw a defense like LSU’s, and even if he did, his offensive line was far better equipped to handle the pressure. As a result, I’m not going to hold this performance against Wilson. He’ll have plenty of opportunities to show he learned from this experience in 2012.
I’ll leave you with this play, easily his best throw of the game and the only one on which he really shows off his arm.