Martez Wilson

Posted: April 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Tags: | 10 Comments »

In my most recent 2-round mock for ScoutsNotebook I had the Eagles getting CB Jimmy Smith in the 1st round and LB Martez Wilson in the 2nd. I don’t think I really have to say all that much about Smith. We’ve pretty much discussed him ad infinitum (Latin for “lots of times and stuff”).

So what about Wilson? Let me first talk about him in general. I had never seriously considered Wilson as an Eagles target. I just didn’t see him falling down to pick 54. Didn’t make sense. We’re talking about a guy that is 6’4, 250. He ran the fastest time of any LB at the Combine. He can be a good inside run stuffer, but also has the range to make plays all over the field. Guys like this don’t fall that far.

Well, Wilson did fall that far in my mock. Suddenly I had to wonder about the thought of him as an Eagles prospect. I know the coaches would love to have a guy with his size/speed combo. Who wouldn’t? Where would he play here? Would he fit?

I’ve watched quite a bit of Illinois recently in trying to study RB Mikel Leshoure and DT Corey Liuget, both really good players. Wilson isn’t at their level, but he did grow on me as I watched him. The game I really like him in was the bowl game. There was a play early in the game when a Baylor player had the ball at the LOS, but a bit outside the formation. Wilson flew up there, grabbed the player, and slammed him down. I wrote down “Hulk mad. Hulk hurt Baylor player.” That’s what I thought of. Wilson showed terrific speed in flying to the ball and then showed excellent strength and physicality as he wrapped up the guy and slammed him down. This wasn’t a hit. This wasn’t a drag-down tackle. This was a big man hurting a smaller man, which you want in a LB. Those guys need to be bullies.

Wilson had 5 solo tackles in the bowl game. One was a TFL. A couple of others were right at the LOS. I loved the way he could close to the ball. Wilson stayed back, read the play, and then flew upfield when he had a clear path to the ball. That’s excellent LB play.

He could play any LB spot for the Eagles. He’s got the size for SAM or MIKE. He has enough speed for WIL. He’s physical enough to take on blockers at the point of attack. He has long arms and the strength to shed blocks. Wilson really could fit any spot.

The downside is that he’s not ideal for any one spot. He doesn’t have the instincts you prefer in a MLB. He doesn’t have ideal agility for playing WIL. He’s also not a polished cover LB, which really applies to all 3 spots. Wilson is raw. He got by at Illinois based on size/speed. He plays hard and is physical, but the NFL requires guys to play smart and be disciplined. Wilson regularly takes false steps. He got away with that in the Big Ten (or whatever we’re calling it these days). The NFL makes you pay for getting out of position, even if only by a couple of steps.

If Wilson is coachable, he absolutely could be an Eagles target. He’s got the raw ability to play in our system. Wilson covers a lot of ground. Juan Castillo wants LBs that can run. Wilson certainly can do that. He also is a solid pass rusher and blitzer (9 career sacks…some snaps at DE). Wilson has the physical ability to be a solid coverage LB. He simply needs to develop the skills.

There are no complete packages at 4-3 LB this year. Everyone has some weakness. If you want a cover guy, go get Casey Matthews. If you want a polished veteran go get Quan Sturdivant or Colin McCarthy. Wilson is your guy for pure talent and potential. He could be a Karlos Dansby type LB in a few years, should things work out. If they don’t, he’s Quintin Caver (why didn’t he just fall on the ball vs STL in ’01?).

I don’t think the Eagles are necessarily targeting Wilson. Heck, he may not make it to pick 54. I had just assumed there was literally no chance he’d make it to us. When I did the mock I was shocked to see him on the board. I thought he was too talented to pass up. Let’s see what Juan Castillo and Mike Caldwell can do with him.

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Someone asked about the Eagles and Chris Carter. Since he’s done writing and producing the X-Files, I think Chris could be of definite interest. Eagles Live would get a whole lot more exciting with aliens…and Scully. Oh, wait…the kid from Fresno State? Yeah, I guess we might like him too. Carter could be a LB and situational rusher. I’m not sure he’s an ideal WIL for us, but he could be a SAM/rusher type. Carter is a real impressive player. He was dominant at times for FSU. Good athlete as well. Carter is one of the types I’m double checking on. You don’t want to fall in love with the numbers, but also don’t want to undervalue him because of FSU and his size (6’1, 248). That size can work in our system.

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Brian over at McNabb or Kolb or Vick (what about Kafka?) put up a good piece on drafting QBs and where you find the Pro Bowlers. I wrote a follow-up to his piece over at ScoutsNotebook.