If the Kansas City Chiefs are looking to bolster their linebackers then they might want to take a look at former Illinois linebacker Martez Wilson.
We haven’t talked a lot about Wilson around here as most of the focus has been on the OLB position and guys like Akeem Ayers. A few days ago, however, we got word that the Chiefs were checking out North Carolina ILB Quan Sturdivant, and that got me to thinking that ILB could be an option for the Chiefs as well.
Jovan Belcher did a nice job in his first year as a starter and while he was a major upgrade over Corey Mays, I don’t know that I would label him as a difference maker. That isn’t to say that he won’t continue to grow as a player but right now, I would say he could potentially be upgraded.
And Martex Wilson just might be the guy to take his place.
We’ll take a closer look at my dark horse to be the Chiefs first round pick after the jump.
Wilson is listed at 6-4, 250. He played ILB at Illinois and probably has the skill to play either OLB or ILB in the 3-4, though I’d like to see him in the middle next to Derrick Johnson. FanSided scout Larry McDaniel of <a href=”http://withthefirstpick.com/2011/02/25/martez-wilson-scouting-report/”>With The First Pick</a> calls Wilson one of the few “athletic freaks” in the draft.
Let’s take a look at some bits from <a href=”http://withthefirstpick.com/2011/02/25/martez-wilson-scouting-report/”>WTFP’s scouting report</a> of Wilson:
<blockquote><strong>Istincts/Recognition: </strong>Very good read and react skills against the run. Plays with his head and eyes up. Once he sees it develop, there’s no hesitation, he’s attacking it down hill. Picks up on inside and outside runs equally as well. Against the pass, he can sometimes get fooled by play fakes and misdirections. Would like to see him hold his water more in those instances. In zone coverage, he does a nice job of reading his keys and feeling receivers enter and exit his designated area. Needs to improve upon the depth of his drops. Route recognition in man coverage is average. Can sometimes get caught in no mans land. When rushing the passer, he displays good instincts. Like a defensive linemen, he gets his hands up in passing lanes, and occasionally bats down a ball or two.</blockquote>
The thing I really like about Wilson is his range. McDaniel notes that he has excellent speed and can hold his own in converge, which we know is a bit of a weakness for Belcher. The other think I could see the Chiefs doing with Wilson is moving him around a lot. Wilson is a good inside blitzer but also has the speed to slide over to the edge and come from the outside as well.
An aspect of the Chiefs’ defense that is often overlooked is that Romeo Crennel moved his linebackers around a lot last season. Tamba Hali often lined up on the left and right sides. Mike Vrabel often shifted to MLB in passing downs and Andy Studebaker would come in and play whichever side Hali wasn’t.
Giving Crennel a guy with the athleticism of Wilson could really expand what the Chiefs can do on defense. The 3-4 defenses is all about having lots of good linebackers that can make plays. Right now the Chiefs only have Hali and Derrick Johnson as big time playmakers while Belcher and Studebaker are simply average. After that, the cupboard consists of Demorrio Williams (a solid backup) and Corey Mays (a bum).
NFL Draft Scout currently has Wilson listed as the #1 ILB in the draft but they have him projected to go early in the second round. However, as McDaniel points out in his scouting report, an athlete as gifted and as versatile of Wilson usually doesn’t last very long in the NFL Draft. We could very well see him sneak into the back end of the first round. Taking him at #21 might not be that big of a reach for a team in need of playmakers at LB.
There are some character/injury concerns with Wilson. He was stabbed in the back outside a bar earlier in his college career while coming to the aid of a friend who was jumped. A herniated disk caused him to miss most of the 2009 season. When healthy, however, Wilson was prolific. He recorded 112 tackles, four sacks, three forced fumbles and one interception in 2010. He also had an impressive 11/12 tackles for a loss.
What do you think Addicts? Is Wilson a guy you would like the Chiefs to take a chance on or would you prefer they go with a safer pick?