2011 NFL Draft Player Profile | Martez Wilson
He ended up moving to strong side linebacker with Illinois before missing all but one game in 2009 due to a neck injury. He made his comeback in 2010 as the defensive leader for Illinois, and switching to linebacker, before foregoing his senior season to enter the 2011 NFL Draft.
Player Name: Martez Wilson
Position: Inside Linebacker
Arm: 34 5/8
Wilson is a high motor, highly athletic player. He has excellent speed and quickness, and does a slightly above average job in space. He’s a hard hitter and has good pass rush skills. He’s improved in coverage, although he needs to continue working on his zone assignments and not being caught out of position. He has a good football IQ and has good intangibles, taking over as a defensive leader for Illinois. He does a nice job of breaking down and making tackles, especially at the line of scrimmage. Wilson excels at keeping an arm free when engaged in blocks to allow himself to still make a play.
Wilson relies a lot on athleticism to make plays and still has room to bulk up. His inability to shed blocks and play in traffic may force him to play 3-4 outside linebacker or stick with the outside in a 4-3 defense. At times he plays a bit stiff in coverage and needs to break down better in the open field. Some character concerns could be present. He was suspended for the last game of the 2008 season after breaking team rules, and was also involved in a bar fight, in which he was stabbed for coming to the aid of a friend who was in trouble.
Wilson’s draft range is hard to predict. He has unlimited potential and could sneak into the first round. But I think he’s too raw and too much of a wild card to select that highly. I think the third round suits him best, but his versatility will help him as he can be a project 3-4 outside linebacker, putting him back as a pass rusher, which he was recruited as originally by Ron Zook. Look for Arizona, New England, Buffalo, and Green Bay to take a look at him in the third round, as well as a few 4-3 defenses like Cleveland, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Atlanta.
NFL Comparison: Bryan Thomas