Jan 21, 2013; Fairhope AL, USA; Senior Bowl south squad quarterback Tyler Wilson of Arkansas (8) drops back to pass during Senior Bowl practice at Fairhope municipal stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson came to the Senior Bowl with both hype and concerns about what type of NFL quarterback he could be. Wilson has struggled with a history of concussions throughout his collegiate career, which as we know, is a very sensitive issue at the next level. We won’t know how fragile or durable Wilson is until he sees contact in Sunday’s Senior Bowl game, which will be minimal at best. However, Wilson has answered various questions on his concussion history with scouts this week.
Wilson shared reps with Florida State‘s E.J. Manuel, and Oklahoma’s Landry Jones. Both Jones and Manuel showed tremendous inconsistencies during practice this week. Neither quarterback was able to show confidence in their deep throws, and had trouble connecting on many of their intermediate routes. Manuel finished the week stronger than expected, and has shown signs of promise moving forward towards the NFL Combine next month in Indianapolis.
Wilson has the most to gain, and ironically, the most to lose this week at the Senior Bowl. Coming off a season where he and his Razorbacks struggled mightily under lofty expectations, Wilson needs to prove that he can stay healthy, and is still the promising prospect he was in 2011. Wilson really helped himself by measuring in this week at just a shade over 6’2”. That measurable alone will help his stock heading into the events that will follow this week’s Senior Bowl events.
Wilson has been doing all of the right things down in Mobile. He has shown that he is still the same strong armed quarterback that we have all seen on film, and in person during games. He has good touch on his route specific throws, and a nice zip on his down field throws that you like to see a quarterback have coming into the NFL. Wilson surely has plenty of room to develop as a quarterback, but his skill set as it stands now qualifies him enough to be a solid first round selection.
This week in practice, Wilson was able to show a pocket presence that was unmeasured by Landry Jones, or E.J. Manuel. Manuel and Jones both looked rushed and unpolished in 7 on 7 drills, as well as full 11 on 11. Jones looked shaky, and often avoided big throws in favor of dumping it off into the flats, and allowing his skill players to bail him out of a sticky situation. Manuel, as mentioned before, had a strong finish to the week, and has continued to keep the faith of scouts around the league.
All in all, Wilson was far and above any quarterback down at the Senior Bowl this week. He showed maturity in the pocket, the ability to make nearly any NFL throw, as well as keep the composure of a huddle with guys he has never played with before. Wilson’s biggest concern is his inconsistency. He’ll make you jump out of your seat with two or three great throws in a row, and then you find yourself shaking your head and say “what was he thinking?”. No one at this point of the pre-draft process is perfect, and Wilson is no different. However, Wilson did a fantastic job setting himself a part from the crop of gunslingers down in Mobile, and is poised and on track to only help his stock rise as we continue to steamroll towards April’s 2013 NFL Draft.