After producing two first round defensive backs last year, The University of Florida has an excellent chance of repeating that this draft. While I have been a long time fan of Teez Tabor, the cornerback playing opposite him is consistently getting rated higher by big draft analysts. When taking a closer look, it is not hard to see why he is so beloved.
At 6-1 and 215 pounds with long arms Quincy Wilson is the NFL's dream in terms of build at the cornerback position. More and more teams are looking for size and length to put on the outside of their defense and Wilson perfectly fits that mold. Florida used his size, asking him to play close to the line and often in man to man coverage. He consistently did a great job of using his length, and athletic ability, to give very good back end coverage.
Wilson does a great job using his long arms to beat the receiver to the highest spot at the catch point and rips his arm through to prevent any hope of a completion. Wilson does such an excellent job using his body in coverage and forcing the wide receiver to play at his speed.
An underrated aspect of Quincy Wilson is how athletic he is. People think of big corners and rarely is speed the first thing that comes to mind but Wilson has shown he can run with whomever.
Wilson is playing across a much quicker and faster receiver, Kermit Whitfield, but is able to stay on him through the play and closes to beautifully break up the pass. This play shows a combination of his athletic ability, but also his savvy to subtly use his body throughout the route to slow down the receiver.
Quincy WIlson spends a lot of time in man coverage, but also has the awareness and physical ability to make plays in zone.
Keeping his eyes to the quarterback, Wilson does a great job breaking on the ball out, coming off his initial assignment to make a play. This is a good feat of athletic ability, but also just veteran level awareness.
Once again, Wilson is playing off, reads the quarterbacks eyes and breaks on the ball for a turnover. He does not get a lot of opportunities to play eyes to the quarterback, but impresses given the opportunity.
This is another impressive athletic play because Wilson goes to the inside, but when he sees the receiver breaking out on the wheel, he flips his hips quickly and immediately closes on the player in the end zone. It once again shows very impressive athletic ability and recognition, even if he initially made a mistake.
Wilson's athletic ability and physicality in coverage are the name of the game with him and his ability, but his propensity to be physical throughout the route will need some polishing. While cornerbacks can get away with it if they are smart, it is worth noting that such a big part of Wilson's game can hurt him in the NFL.
This is a consistent part of his game and "getting there early" in coverage works a lot of the time at the college football level, but the NFL will clamp down on him using his hands so much in coverage. Once again, it is not about not doing it, rather getting better at hiding it.
By far the biggest concern with Wilson is how little he cares about run defense or tackling in general.
Run defense is obviously not the end-all, be-all of playing cornerback, but a well built player like Quincy Wilson should not be completely washed out of the run game. It just comes off as being passive.
When Wilson does a have a shot to make tackles, it often goes poorly.
Wilson is consistently a bad tackler who ducks his head and leaves his feet to make a play. The result is often missed tackles and giving up unnecessary yardage. This is not the biggest problem in the world, considering he is a cornerback and not a linebacker, but it is a frustratingly large hole in his game.
NFL Comparison: Wilson's size and ability in man coverage are similar to Byron Maxwell in Seattle. Both were heavily used as press man cornerbacks, but also have the ability to make plays in zone. I expect Wilson to test better and go higher than Maxwell did in the draft, but they are very similar players in terms of what they do well.
Wilson's athletic ability and use in college make him scheme versatile for the NFL. The Eagles, who like playing off coverage and use a lot of zone, would be a nice fit for him. While he may have a bit steeper of a learning curve coming away from playing primarily press man, he has shown versatility, so it is not a long term worry. Wilson can be coached up as a tackler and at the worst, he just ends up being a pure cover guy.
With a draft class so full of cornerback talent, it is easy to get nitpicky about how these players separate from the pack. While the big media guys seem to love Wilson, I think he is the second best cornerback on his own team and there are a few corners who should go before him in the draft. That is not a slight on him, really, rather a testament to how good this class is. In the end, he should make a team very happy as a mid to late first round pick.