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Scouting Jets cornerback Quincy Wilson

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Indianapolis Colts v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

With the draft now complete, we’ll be providing in-depth breakdowns of each of the draft picks and undrafted free agents. However, before we do that, let’s review cornerback Quincy Wilson, who was acquired in exchange for the 211th overall pick.

The 23-year old is listed at 6’2” and 210 pounds and was a second round pick out of Florida in 2017. In three years with the Colts, Wilson has started 10 games and registered 61 tackles and two interceptions. However, he’s been considered a disappointment overall.

Background

Wilson played as a quarterback in youth football, then went on to play high school football as a cornerback in Florida.

He was recruited to play for the Florida Gators and gradually worked his way up the depth chart while being surrounded by NFL prospects in the secondary. He started two games as a freshman, then nine more in his sophomore year, totalling 48 tackles, two interceptions and eight passes defensed. He showed his potential in a match-up with Laquon Treadwell, which saw him blank the future first round pick.

Now a full-time starter, Wilson was named as an all-SEC second-teamer in his junior year. He racked up 33 tackles, three interceptions, six passes defensed and 3.5 tackles for loss - all career-highs.

Heading into the 2017 draft, Wilson has highly rated by most experts, including Matt Miller who ranked him as the top cornerback in the draft. Wilson was eventually selected by the Colts in the middle of the second round.

As a rookie, Wilson started off as the number three cornerback, but was thrust into the starting line-up in week two. He was targeted 10 times, giving up six catches including a 45-yard touchdown on a deep throw down the middle and a 46-yard gain on a blown coverage but also made some positive contributions in that game.

That up and down performance was a microcosm of his first three years in the league as he would have mixed fortunes. After that first start, he was sidelined until week 13, first due to injury and then as a healthy scratch. However, he started the last four games and showed some positive flashes.

2018 followed a similar pattern. He had a rocky start, got hurt but then played well in the second half of the year, so there was optimism heading into 2019. However, he ended up in a rotational role and again missed time through injury and due to being a healthy scratch.

The Colts were rumored to have been trying to trade Wilson for some time this offseason. The Jets eventually acquired him with the second of their two sixth round picks and will assume his rookie contract, which has a year remaining.

Let’s move onto some more in-depth analysis of what Wilson brings to the table, based on in-depth research and film study.

Measurables/Athleticism

Wilson has excellent size and length at 6’2” and with long arms, although his listed weight may be slightly out of date. Reports indicate that Wilson was actually overweight when he first joined the Colts but had got his weight down from 220 to 192 by 2019 and his body fat percentage down from 15 percent to 7 percent.

He ran a pedestrian 4.54 at the scouting combine and his explosiveness numbers were poor. However, his agility numbers were excellent with the best short shuttle time of any cornerback at the combine. He managed 14 bench press reps.

Usage

Wilson has played most of his career as an outside corner, only matching up in the slot from time to time. However, in 2019, he played most of the time in the slot or at the safety position. The Colts also liked to match him up with opposing tight ends from time to time, citing his size as a useful attribute in that regard.

Coverage skills

Wilson’s coverage numbers since entering the league haven’t been too bad. After giving up 171 yards on six catches in his first career start, he’s only had one other game where he gave up 60 yards or more and no 40-yard plays. He has also only given up four touchdowns, since then, although three of them were in 2019.

Wilson is competitive and uses his size well, but can be prone to sloppy technique and lapses in concentration. He seems to be a player that thrives on confidence and needs to get into a good rhythm to play at a high level because if he makes a mistake he can get down on himself, leading to more errors.

At times, he can be frustrating to watch because it seems like he doesn’t trust his own ability. If he loses leverage or is knocked off balance, he’ll have a tendency to grab or lean on the receiver rather than using good footwork to get back into his transition. He’ll also tend to give too much of a cushion, which can make him susceptible to back shoulder throws or routes with a sharp break that he can’t react immediately to.

When he is playing with confidence, Wilson can break back to the ball well for a man of his size and uses his length to disrupt passes at the catch point.

Wilson is employed a lot in press coverage, but tends to be more comfortable in zone schemes where he can disrupt at the line but doesn’t have to blanket a fast receiver down the field.

As noted, he saw some time on the inside in 2019, often matching up with tight ends. When playing this role, he is more likely to get man coverage assignments because he has the speed to stay with them, while still being big enough to disrupt.

Ball skills

Wilson has never racked up huge numbers for interceptions or pass break-ups but his long wingspan and good timing gives him a chance to compete for and disrupt passes at the catch point.

However, there are times where he fails to get his head turned around so he is rendered unable make a play on a downfield throw.

He has had just two interceptions in his first three seasons, one of which was on the very last play of his rookie season and basically came on a desperation heave that went right to him.

As a rookie he dropped a couple of potential interceptions, but he did display good hands in college and at his pro day with a couple of spectacular one-handed grabs.

Physicality

As noted, Wilson is employed regularly in press coverage and does have the ability to jam his man at the line and disrupt them. However, he can have lapses.

He tends to have more success in this role when he’s facing bigger receivers rather than smaller and quicker receivers. For example, he did a solid job on a couple of pass break-ups against Travis Benjamin in his rookie year.

This led to him being used in more of a specialist role in 2019 against certain pass catching tight ends. The most memorable of these was against Travis Kelce, who he held to two catches on five targets in an upset win for the Colts.

Penalties

As noted, Wilson can have a tendency to grab or be too physical down the field. Even on some of his positive highlights, he often plays it close to the vest to the point where he could have been hit with a flag by a more flag-happy crew. Similarly, though, some of the penalties he gets called for seem a little harsh.

In his three seasons, Wilson has played less than a thousand snaps but has been called for defensive holding or defensive pass interference 10 times.

Here’s an example. Wilson gets beaten badly off the line by AJ Green and can’t recover, so he can’t resist a tug on Green’s shoulder pad as he goes to try and complete the catch.

Jets fans will no doubt be reminded of another cornerback named Wilson by the way he got beaten and committed a penalty but still celebrated at the end of that play.

Tackling

Wilson’s size comes in handy when he’s making tackles and he shows some good range and effort in pursuit.

He doesn’t particularly deliver many big hits and hasn’t forced a fumble since 2014, but he shows the ability to stop a ball carrier in their tracks or drag down a runner when he has to extend beyond his frame to reach them.

Wilson will sometimes show sloppy technique by throwing a shoulder at the runner rather than wrapping up, but hasn’t missed many tackles at the pro level so his overall efficiency is good.

Run defense

Wilson has primarily been employed on passing downs over the past few years so hasn’t had many opportunities to produce against the run. However, he generally does a solid job when required to do so.

He shows good discipline on the outside and does a good job of keeping contain and ensuring he doesn’t get stuck on blocks so he can prevent big gains on runs that get bounced to the outside.

Blitzing

Wilson only blitzed once in his first two seasons as he was primarily playing on the outside. However, he did it a few more times last year, although he only had a couple of pressures.

On this play, he’s completely unblocked, but Drew Brees is able to calmly step aside and complete the first down anyway.

He recorded just one sack during his college career, which came in his final season. Again, he hardly ever blitzed though.

Special teams

Wilson hasn’t contributed much on special teams at all. In fact, when he was a healthy scratch for a few games during his rookie year, the fact that he doesn’t play special teams was cited as one of the reasons for his absence.

Where he has played, the majority of his snaps have been in the vice role on the punt return unit. He did rush a punt once only to end up getting flagged for roughing the kicker.

He had one special teams tackle in his final year at Florida but again didn’t cover kicks very often.

Instincts/Intelligence

Colts general manager Chris Ballard has described Wilson as “football smart” and praised his versatility. However, some of his struggles earlier on in his career were attributed to him not understanding his assignments.

As noted earlier, there was one blown coverage when he was a rookie that saw him follow the receiver across the middle instead of passing him off, leaving the tight end open in the deep flat for a big play. However, since that time, most of the coverage breakdowns he seems to have been involved in look like they may have been the safety’s responsibility.

Generally he does a good job of reading and reacting in zone coverage and his experience of also playing inside and at safety might be beneficial to him in the longer term.

He is quick to react to outside runs and receiver screens and does a good job of avoiding getting caught up on blocks so he can limit the yardage on these plays.

Wilson had one penalty attributed to him with the Colts when there were 12 defensive players on the field.

Attitude

Wilson has always portrayed a confident demeanor, but - as noted earlier - can get down on himself at times. He’s also been guilty of putting his foot in his mouth a few times; notably when he provided Tennessee with some bulletin board material prior to a bad loss while at Florida and when he vowed to become the starter for the Colts last year only to end up not starting a single game.

As mentioned, he reportedly showed up overweight as a rookie and has admitted his practice habits and attitude were not up to scratch at the start of his career. Before the 2019 season, he was being praised by the coaches for improving his work ethic, diet, conditioning and film preparation, but the suggestion from some reports is that he may not have kept that up.

Injuries

Injuries have also been an issue in terms of Wilson’s development being disrupted. As a rookie, he hurt his knee in preseason and then re-aggravated it in the lead-up to week three. Then in 2018, he missed three games with a concussion. Last season, he had a thumb issue in the offseason and a shoulder issue during the season, although most of the games he missed were as a healthy scratch.

Scheme Fit

The Jets, whose assistant general manager Rex Hogan was with the Colts until last year, now have 11 players on their roster that were with the Colts in 2017, 2018 or 2019. That includes five defensive backs, the other four of whom are Pierre Desir, Nate Hairston, Arthur Maulet and Matthias Farley.

As we noted when we reviewed these players, the Colts changed from a man-based system to a zone-based system in 2018, which has meant that some of these players don’t fit as well as they used to. In Wilson’s case though, much like with Desir, he is better suited to zone rather than man when playing outside and any struggles over the past few years were for other reasons.

The Jets seem to be gearing up to play a lot of zone themselves, perhaps feeling that Jamal Adams can have more of an impact in such a system. Then again it could have more to do with their limitations at the cornerback positions.

So, if the Jets do play zone and Wilson ends up playing as a boundary corner, then he should be a good fit. However, they may have other plans for him.

In addition to all his former Colts teammates, Wilson played with Brian Poole and Marcus Maye in the Florida secondary. He was also a teammate of two of the players drafted on the weekend - Lamical Perine and Jabari Zuniga.

Conclusions

It would be nice to point to Wilson - a former second round pick who has played most of his career on the outside - as an obvious solution for the Jets, who fans wanted to upgrade their outside corners. However, much like the drafting of Ashtyn Davis or the team’s reported interest in Logan Ryan, this move doesn’t necessarily fix that.

What this does give them is a cheap player with upside that can contribute in a variety of ways and a give them options and flexibility, but although he may get a chance to compete for a starting role, there’s no guarantee he’ll earn one.

Maybe his primary role when the season gets underway will be in that tight end blanketing role. However, if that does prove to be his primary role, the fact he can play outside might come in handy if there is an injury or one of the starters ends up in Gregg Williams doghouse.

All in all, this seems like a worthwhile use of a late round pick, especially when the team seems to have picked up some promising players as undrafted free agents. Whether he’ll ever live up to the potential the Colts thought he had when they drafted him is another matter.