Wilson has competition from his teammate, and the picture is complicated by the injuries to the Alabama receivers, but Wilson has some strong arguments on his own merits. He’s a great athlete, a very good route runner, and a big-play threat any time he touches the ball. The only real question is how highly he’ll be drafted.
The New York Giants certainly need help on the offensive side of the ball, and a player like Wilson would be a strong addition to their offense. Could they like him enough to make him the first receiver off the board? Or could he be a value pick in the event of a trade down.
Prospect: Garrett Wilson (5)
Games Watched: vs. Oregon (2021), vs. Penn State (2021), vs. Michigan State (2021), vs. Michigan (2021)
Games Played: 32
Receptions: 143 rec
Yards (YPC): 2,213 (15.5 per catch)
Yards (YPC): 143 (23.8 per carry)
Total Touchdowns: 24 (23 receiving, 1 rushing)
Games Played: 11
Yards (YPC): 1,058 (15.1 per catch)
Yards (YPC): 76 (19.0 per carry)
Total Touchdowns: 13 (12 receiving, 1 rushing)
Best: Speed, quickness, agility, route running, run after catch
Worst: Size, catch mechanics
Projection: A starting wide receiver with scheme versatility.
Ohio State’s Garrett Wilson is an athletic and versatile wide receiver with “big play” upside at the NFL level.
Wilson is undersized by NFL standards but primarily lined up as an outside receiver in Ohio State’s offense. While Wilson did take snaps out of the slot or in jet motion, he was usually lined up on the line of scrimmage as an “X” receiver.
Wilson features an efficient release against zone coverage, crisply launching off the line of scrimmage. Despite his size, Wilson doesn’t seem bothered by press-man coverage. He uses good hand technique and quick footwork to beat jams when faced with press-man. Wilson is an excellent athlete as well as a good route runner, which makes him a threat at all levels of the field. He is an effective receiver on underneath routes, using sharp breaks to separate quickly. Likewise, his speed makes him tough for cornerbacks to keep up with down the field.
Wilson is particularly dangerous on come-back routes or double-moves. He uses great stop-start quickness to shake defenders and work back to the ball on the former. Meanwhile his agility allows him to effectively sell the first break of a double-move, then his burst allows him to get back in his route and out-run defenders on the second phase of the double-move.
Wilson has good ball skills at all areas of the field. He has great body control to make quick adjustments on quick timing passes. He also does a good job of locating the ball in the air and tracking it downfield on vertical routes and extends to maximize his catch radius. Wilson is a “hands” catcher and his big hands allow him to secure difficult catches.
His athleticism and competitiveness make him a consistent threat with the ball in his hands. Wilson’s quickness and agility are evident in run-after-catch situations and he has great burst out of cuts to go with speed in the open field.
Wilson is a surprisingly good blocker for a receiver his size. He is competitive and shows solid technique on the perimeter, with good play strength for an undersized wideout.
That said, his relatively small stature does show up in several areas of his game. He can be out-muscled as a blocker and at the catch point. And while Wilson tries to position himself well for contested catch situations, he lacks the mass to really box-out defenders.
Wilson also has a curious quirk of jumping on almost every catch. That can hinder his ability to pick up yards after the catch, as he needs to get his feet back underneath him, rather than catching the ball in-stride. Wilson’s habit of jumping can also open himself up to taking contact before he can secure the ball, leading to him dropping some passes he really should catch.
Overall Grade: 8.1
Garrett Wilson projects as a starting receiver at the NFL level with scheme versatility.
Wilson’s skill set would likely be maximized in an offense based in Spread or West Coast principles. Those offenses would take advantage of his explosiveness in space and allow him to play out of a variety of alignments. More traditional offenses would likely view Wilson as a big play slot receiver, but he has the ability to play the X and Flanker positions as well.
Wilson is a skilled route runner, and that skill extends to using his routes to force pass interference penalties when he can’t get open. Teams should look to match Wilson up on cornerbacks who will be stressed by his frenetic play style.
Offenses that make use of route combinations to manipulate defenses – as opposed to a high rate of isolation routes – would make great use of Wilson’s route running. He is great at creating separation for himself, but he also knows how to use his routes to create opportunities for his teammates as well. Likewise, his athletic upside will also be useful for teams that make frequent use of jet motion or sweeps, as well as those who make screen plays a big part of their offense.
Teams will want to work with Wilson to build more consistent catch mechanics. His habit of jumping when he catches the ball has a tendency to work against him and could get him in trouble at the NFL level. If Wilson can be a bit more consistent at the catch point, he could turn into a dangerous weapon in the right offense.