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The Martez Wilson Conundrum

Martez Wilson of Illinois blazed his way to a 4.49 40-yard dash today, the fastest official time among linebackers at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Wilson is a player who will likely be available when the New York Giants select 19th in the first round and maybe even when they select in the second round, 52nd overall. We have not yet profiled him, though we will do so soon. He is an intriguing physical talent, especially considering the Giants desire to upgrade at linebacker.

He comes, however, with a huge WARNING! label. The 'doesn't play as fast as he times' label.

From Draft Countdown:

Wilson showcased amazing straight-line speed with a 4.49 clocking, which paced all of the linebackers, but on tape he looks stiff and doesn’t play that fast. Wilson is going to generate a lot of spirited debate in War Room’s around the league between now and the end of April.

From Pro Football Talk:

The linebackers have run their 40-yard dashes at the NFL Scouting Combine, and Martez Wilson of Illinois is the fastest of the bunch, running in a blazing 4.49 seconds.

I’m an Illinois graduate and I watched almost every game of Wilson’s college career, and I’ll just say this: Wilson’s production on the field doesn’t come close to matching his athletic gifts.

We have talked about this before. Pure athleticism does not impress me. I want football players. If you can't diagnose the play quickly enough it doesn't matter how fast you run. Everybody else in the NFL is fast enough, and strong enough, that a false step will kill you every time.