Combine helped Illini LB Wilson

Combine helped Illini LB Wilson

Posted by Bob LeGere on Wed, 03/02/2011 - 01:37
It will be interesting to see where Illinois LB Martez Wilson is drafted. The Simeon High School product ran the fastest 40-yard dash among all the linebackers at the Scouting Combine, 4.49, which was faster than all the outside linebackers, who are supposed to be the better athletes. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Wilson is also one of the biggest linebackers in this year’s group, and that combination of size and speed will help elevate his draft stock. But there are still questions about whether Wilson has the instincts to be a first-round draft pick. His production on the field has rarely matched his physical gifts, and NFL teams will have to be sure that the neck injury that sidelined him for the entire 2009 season will not become a chronic condition. Critics say Wilson never looks as good on the field as he does in the gym, but he has more than enough size to play middle linebacker in a 4-3 defense and could also work on the strong side. He has shown some pass-rush ability in the past, although he had a modest 9 sacks in three seasons with the Illini, leaving with a year of eligibility remaining. Some teams could look at his 40-time and figure he might have a future as a rush linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Despite his impressive performance at the Combine, Wilson may have a difficult time making it into the first round because his game tape doesn’t play like that of a top pick. It’s not that Wilson played poorly last season – he had 112 tackles and 11 ½ for negative yardage – he just didn’t blow people away. But he may have put himself solidly into the second round with his work in Indianapolis.
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