There is a certain expectation that comes along with being a first round pick in the NFL Draft that never goes away. The feeling about players who were once taken in the draft’s opening 32 selections that have yet to come into their own is that they just haven’t been given the right opportunity to do so. For cornerback Kyle Wilson, that opportunity has arrived in the form of the 2013 season with the New York Jets.
Wilson was the 29th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Jets out of Boise State University. Coming off of his best professional season in 2012 where he started 15 games, the word out of OTAs is that Wilson has been really impressing the coaches. Jets head coach Rex Ryan told ESPN New York’s Matt Ehalt:
“This is the best camp he’s had and it’s not close. I’ve been proud of the way he’s come into these OTAs and the way he’s competing. The other thing about Kyle, mentally he’s a sharp guy as well. He can work inside and outside and we’ll play him in both spots.”
Perhaps the reason for that extra motivation lies in the team’s first round selection from this past April when Dee Milliner out of Alabama was taken with the ninth overall pick. Obviously Darrelle Revis’ departure for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers enhances the need at corner even with incumbent Pro Bowler in his own right Antonio Cromartie still in town. Milliner and Wilson figure to be in a fierce battle for the starting spot opposite Cro in the Jets secondary while the runner-up will likely find himself playing in the nickel.
With the way most defenses around the league are structured these days, the nickel is almost the standard for defensive alignment. Spread out passing attacks have forced defenses to adapt and keep their most nimble of personnel groupings on the field more often as a result. That means that all three of these guys will likely be seeing a lot of playing time regardless of their individual assignments in the coming season.
Wilson has just three interceptions to his name through the first three years of his career. With an increase in playing time expected this season it’s highly likely that his number of picks will follow suit. If his performance in training camp continues on an upward arc like his showing during OTAs, Wilson could experience a breakout campaign in 2013.