Kyle Wilson: Stay or Go?

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 06: Fred Jackson #22 of the Buffalo Bills is stopped by Donald Strickland #30 and Kyle Wilson #20 of the New York Jets at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 6, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York.New York won 27-11. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

I think Kyle Wilson might be the most underappreciated member of the Jets. He made some huge strides in 2011 locking down the nickel spot. Part of the reason he flies under the radar is the limelight Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie receive. Part of it is the nature of his job sometimes makes it look like he is struggling more than he really is.

The nickel back usually defends the slot receiver. When a corner is lined up on the outside, life is in many ways easier. The receiver is limited where he can go. He has the sideline constraining him. A good corner can use the sideline as a defender and pin receivers against it. Revis is a master at this.

The slot is a difficult place for a defender. A receiver can run up the field. He can stop. He can cut either way and frequently has an option built into his routes based on how he reads the coverage. Slot receivers also line up behind the line of scrimmage at the snap, making it difficult for any defender not named Revis to get a jam on the receiver.

Wilson gave up completions, but they were generally not damaging. A corner who allows a 9 yard completion on third and 13 has done his job, even if his stats take a hit. Even a grab for 6 yards on first down is difficult to get upset about since a slot cornerback has to cover the entire field. A great number of the receptions Wilson allowed were not damaging.

Wilson has a lot of blood on his hands from the Victor Cruz 99 yard touchdown and was abused by the Patriots in the Meadowlands. The whole of his season was very, very good, though. He improved a ton from his first year to his second and has room to grow as he gets more comfortable. He was a real weapon against tight ends. I would like to see the Jets use him more lined up as a safety, a potential internal option to help the team tight on cap space solve a problem. He is a ballhawk who could do good things there.

I think the sky is the limit for Wilson. I look forward to seeing him grow.

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