Illinois LB Martez Wilson Top Inside Backer in Draft

March 08, 2011 | Brian Billick

Martez Wilson entered the combine as the top rated MLB prospect, and he backed up the hype with his workout.  Checking in at 6’3 3/4 250 lbs, he ran an eye popping 4.49 40-yard dash.  That time was best among all linebackers, both inside and out.  That speed is also on display when you watch WIlson’s tape – he easily runs with TE’s and receivers up the seam and plays well in man to man pass coverage.  He closes in quickly on the ball carrier and gets from sideline to sideline to make plays all over the field.  Wilson uses his length to his advantage and often gets his long arms on ballcarriers even when engaged by a blocker in the hole.  With that said, his read and react skills will need improvement to take his game to the next level.  He often got drawn in on play action and was easily fooled on misdirection plays.  In the college game, he made up for those false steps with his overall speed and quickness, but that will be magnified and exposed in the NFL.

Martez Wilson has all the physical attributes to be an impact player in the NFL, and he will continue to improve with better coaching and increased film study.  I look for him to be the first ins backer selected in the draft, but probably not until the middle of the 2nd round.