In an extremely crowded wide receiver draft class, it’s easy to forget, overlook, and leave out some of the top receivers. With Calvin Ridley being my WR1 and my only first round graded receiver heading into March, there’s a rather large log jam of receivers that have a second-to-third round grade on my board. One guy I’m extremely excited about and think will have a long NFL career is Boise State’s Cedrick Wilson.

Wilson played two seasons at Boise State after playing his freshman and sophomore seasons at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas. In his freshman year for the Red Ravens, Wilson hauled in 10 touchdowns and 629 receiving yards. He backed up his impressive freshman campaign with an excellent sophomore season — catching 66 passes for 1,045 receiving yards, and finishing fourth in the nation with 17 touchdowns. After back-to-back impressive years as Coffeyville’s leading receiver, Wilson decided to take his talents to Boise State University.

Wilson didn’t waste any time making an impact for the Broncos offense. In his first year wearing that hideous blue (sorry Boise State fans), Wilson appeared in all 13 games (6 starts), catching 56 receptions for 1,129 yards, and led the team with 12 touchdowns. He followed his impressive first season up with another good showing in his senior year. In 2017, Wilson had 1,511 yards on 83 receptions and scored 7 times.

If you combine the two years together, Wilson had 139 receptions for 2,640 yards (19.2 yards per reception), and 17 touchdowns, which outranks: D.J. Moore, Christian Kirk, Courtland Sutton, Auden Tate, “BaeSean” Hamilton, and many more. Now stats always lie, so I don’t want you to think I’m only basing my evaluation of Wilson off of his career stat line at Boise State, because I’m not. So let’s take a look at some of his film.

THE FILM ROOM

This first clip is an extremely difficult play. Wilson makes this tough catch look easy. As you can see, Wilson sells the route outside with a subtle head fake that allows him just enough inside leverage to create a bit of separation. He also does an excellent job of tracking the ball down the field — one of his best traits — and is able to make that “finger tip” grab look easy with the cornerback draped all over him.

This next clip is just ridiculous. Wilson creates separation at the top of his route against the corner, but has to deal with Quin Blanding making an excellent play on the ball from the safety position. Somehow, Wilson is able to haul this one in and get his feet down while taking a wicked hit from the UVA safety. I’m not sure many NFL receivers are making this grab.

What are the two most important things for a college receiver to have success in the NFL? To me, it’s body control and the ability to make plays after the catch. Here’s an example of Wilson doing both of those things in one clip. The ability for Wilson to make this adjustment and haul in a ball that was thrown significantly behind him is impressive in itself, then to have the wherewithal to spin out of the tackle box to get upfield in a hurry really impressed me.

Here’s two plays in one clip of Wilson making a play after the catch. Wilson gets knocked for his thin frame, but I really think it helps him make defenders miss with green (blue) grass in front of him. We rarely relate the word “elusive” to wide receivers, but I really think Wilson’s elusiveness is one of the best in this draft class.

Yet another play where Wilson adjusts to a poorly thrown ball in the air. Watch him land on his feet and get big time yards after the catch. You can tell in these clips that Wilson has an idea where the defenders are, and more often than not does a good job of avoiding the unnecessary contact at the catch point, as well as after the catch:

After his impressive career at Boise State, he was invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL. Heading into the week, I didn’t have him anywhere near my top 10 wide receivers, and he definitely wasn’t anywhere close to my top 100. After three days of what I’d call exceeding any and all expectations, I did some deep diving into Cedrick Wilson’s film and came away extremely impressed,  and he instantly started shooting up my draft board.

While Wilson isn’t necessarily “elite” at anything, I think he does everything extremely well. He’s not a burner, but he can separate using his straight line speed and short area quickness to gain separation off the line of scrimmage, stem of his route, and top of his route. I wouldn’t consider Wilson a great route runner either, but I do think in certain areas of the field he knows how to get open and uses that savviness to separate from defensive backs. What I do see Wilson being elite at is his tracking ability. The only other player in this draft class who tracks the football on Wilson’s level is Oklahoma State’s, James Washington. I also really love =Wilson’s ability to gain yards after the catch — something he did a lot of at Boise State.

The most underrated aspect of Wilson’s game is how consistent his hands are. You rarely see him drop a ball that hits any part of his hands. His ability to make the tough catches away from his body is so smooth, and he does it on a consistent basis. For as well as he catches the football, you’d think he’d have super large hands, but that’s not the case. He just has those strong hands that latch on to the football. Trust me, I know I think more highly of Wilson  than most. I see that he may struggle with press coverage a bit, and his balance needs some work, but I also believe if he adds a little weight and doesn’t get bumped around as much down the field when running his routes, he could end up being one of the most productive receivers in this draft class.

 

About The Author Connor Livesay

Connor Livesay is a highly sport intelligent NFL Draft analyst. Gaining his passion for football through being a lifelong fan of the Dallas Cowboys, Connor's passion lies in who the high potential players are and where they'll work best. Whether it's the NFL Draft or the Cowboys, Connor provides educated insight about the sport he loves.