Over the next few days, I would like to take a look at some guys under the radar capable of stepping up and becoming major contributors. Every season has some surprise internal guy who becomes a mainstay. Last year's guys were Mike Devito and Matt Slauson, who exceeded expectations. Sione Pouha and Shonn Greene fit the bill in 2009.
Kyle Wilson's rookie season was something of a disappointment. It must, however, be put into perspective. The Jets defense throws its cornerbacks to the wolves. Rookies like Wilson are asked to do the most difficult thing at the position, cover receivers man to man with little help, right off the bat. Kyle struggled a bit, but he showed flashes of excellence unlike one Vernon Gholston. There were times when Wilson looked good. Even when he was beaten, there were many times he was not terrible. He was in pretty good coverage plenty in a position to make a play. He was just tentative out there, not wanting to take a chance. That goes for punt returns too. He came very close to breaking a few big ones.
He now has had a season to adjust to the speed and talent of NFL receivers. He looked like he was trying to tread water last season. He now has been able to grasp the playbook. He knows how to prepare off the field. In fact, he trained with Darrelle Revis.
I cannot guarantee you Kyle Wilson will be an excellent NFL corner. What I know is that one year is entirely too small a sample size to judge what somebody will become. I also know a lot of smart people who thought he would become an excellent corner when he was drafted. I also know that a lot of players make a big jump from year one to year two.
Teams are going to have a very difficult time throwing it outside on the Jets with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie there. A small improvement from Wilson would be an upgrade over Drew Coleman inside. A big improvement could create a next to impossible defense to throw the football successfully against.