Howard Wilson- Cornerback, Houston Cougars
ARM LENGTH: 31 3/8”
HANDS: 9 5/8”
PROJECTED ROUND: 4th ROUND
40 YD DASH (NFL Combine): 4.57 seconds
VERTICAL (NFL Combine): 33.5”
BROAD JUMP (NFL Combine): 119”
3 CONE DRILL (NFL Combine): 6.68 seconds
20 YD SHUTTLE (NFL Combine): 3.94 seconds
STRENGTHS: Two noticeable trait of Wilson are his height and length, which benefit him immensely. His length naturally allows him to break up passes and make tackles that others would not be able to reach. It is difficult for receivers to blow past him, as his speed allows him to run with anyone on the field. Even if a receiver gets a step on him, Wilson is able to make up that difference. When playing with good pad level, Wilson is able to close on any short route thrown his way. His ability to read the quarterbacks eyes in zone, along with his aggressive nature, allowed him to break up passes and led to five interceptions last season. That same aggression helped in run support as he was never afraid to stick his nose in the middle and make a tackle.
WEAKNESSES: Wilson rarely found himself near the line of scrimmage, while playing zone or off man coverage. He relies on his athleticism to make plays sometimes, which gets him into trouble. A receiver with good footwork can get him out of position, as many saw when he lined up against Noel Thomas of UConn. Along with that, Wilson plays too tall at times, which leads to easier completions against him. Wilson rarely covered a team’s top receiver, so his footwork and pad level will need to be refined in order to cover NFL receivers. His aggressive nature is good, but he will need to add to his thin frame. Almost all of his tackles are below the waist, and he tends to drop his head when making tackles. He suffered an ACL injury his sophomore year, and only has one full year as a starter (played some during freshman season). There was also this strange incident at Houston’s Pro Day.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Teams will love Wilson’s length, and strength coaches should have no problem adding size to his frame. Wilson has the natural talent to compete with anyone, and coaching along with film will help him focus on the details of the position. His length and speed will be his greatest allies come draft day, and one team is going to find a steal if he falls to the later rounds.