Summary: Wilson has been a rising running back in the 2012 NFL Draft class. The early entry is somewhat of a one-year wonder entering the NFL. He is the reigning ACC Player of the Year after a stellar 2011 campaign. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry with a total of 1,709 yards and nine touchdowns. He caught 22 passes for 129 yards and one score as a receiver. In 2010, he was a backup and ran for 619 yards with five touchdowns.
Wilson was very consistent on a weekly basis. He had 10 games of 100-plus yards. He had huge outings against Georgia Tech, Miami, Virginia and others. Even though he was only the starter for one season, he decided to enter the 2012 NFL Draft after his junior year.
Wilson had an superb showing at the NFL Scouting Combine to help his draft stock. He showed off his straight-line speed when he ran the 40-yard dash at 4.40, unofficially. He did well with a broad jump of 11 feet and a vertical leap of 41 inches. He also has added some muscle from the end of the 2011 season.
During his one year as a starter, Wilson showed some natural instincts as a ball carrier. He is a physical runner who has the ability to handle a large workload. He runs with speed and balance, and has good vision. His body lean and ability to run behind his pads allows him to break tackles and regularly pick up yards after contact. Wilson finishes his runs extremely well, and has too much power to be stopped with an arm tackle. He has a unique combination of speed and power.
Most have projected him to be a second-rounder, and he is in the running to be the second running back selected. There is a possibility that he will sneak into the first round.
One serious negative that could prevent him from being a first-rounder is ball security. He had seven fumbles in his one season as a starter. Wilson is going to need to make some real progress in that regard.
Player Comparison: Knowshon Moreno. Wilson's running style is reminiscent of Moreno and Cadillac Williams. Both of those running backs were drafted in the first round, and in hindsight, that was probably too high. The running back position has been devalued and Wilson has a better chance of going in Round 2, rather than the top 32 picks. Regardless, Wilson looks similar to Moreno (5-11, 200) in the way they attack the defense with speed, power, balance and vision.
NFL Matches: Cincinnati, Denver, New York Giants, Atlanta
One of Cincinnati's biggest needs is for a long-term running back to pair with Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. They might consider trading down from one of their first-rounders and taking Wilson. The Broncos need another running back after Moreno has struggled with injuries. They would prefer a multi-back approach and Willis McGahee is aging. Denver could consider trading down from its first-rounder a few spots and picking Wilson, or trading up from their second-round pick.
The Giants could select Wilson with the final pick in the first round. If Wilson falls in the 2012 NFL Draft, however, he would make a nice replacement for Falcon running back Michael Turner. There are a number of teams that could draft Wilson early in the second round. They include: St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Seattle, Kansas City and the New York Jets.