PROSPECT SUMMARY - RACHAD WILDGOOSE JR.
Rachad Wildgoose Jr. was a surprise entry into the 2021 NFL Draft. His resume of game tape at Wisconsin was fairly lean and he only played in two games this season before a shoulder injury brought the end of his campaign—not an inspiring sample size to inject excitement into an unsuspecting draft profile. Wildgoose Jr. has shared time between the perimeter and nickel, the latter of which is where I will like him most at the pro level. Coming out of Jim Leonhard’s defensive system, Wildgoose Jr. should offer an NFL team a smart, savvy defensive presence even without the extensive game tape to back it up. The hope for Wildgoose Jr. to eliminate some of the erratic swings in his play was snuffed out by the dynamics of the 2020 season, however, so you do have something of a “flying blind” dynamic with his forecast. Wildgoose Jr. did show a high-level nose for the football in coverage and his quickness will be a useful tool for coverage in the slot.
Ideal Role: Nickel corner.
Scheme Fit: Scheme diverse.
Written by Kyle Crabbs
Games watched: Northwestern (2019), Michigan State (2019), Ohio State (2019), Michigan (2019), Illinois (2020), Northwestern (2020)
Best Game Studied: Northwestern (2019)
Worst Game Studied: Ohio State (2019)
Man Coverage: The best forecast for him lies in press man in the slot. He’s got the athleticism and aggressive approach to reroute here and mirror a full 360 degrees of action with success—allowing his reactive quickness to keep him attached to routes. He showed effective range to play turn and run and you can also develop him to sit at five yards and collision in the contact window before flipping to carry routes as well. A bit of a forecast here, but I like what he profiles as here.
Zone Coverage: Discipline and route recognition here will need improvement before he’s a high-ceiling player in heavy zones, but he does have the transitional quickness and trigger ability to play flat-footed and flash to squeeze throwing windows.
Ball Skills: His short-area agility and quickness allow him to trigger and drive on targets in front of his face and successfully swipe and combat the hands of receivers. He was quite productive despite his limited reps, logging 14 passes defensed over his playing career. His only career interception came on a tipped drop versus Michigan State.
Tackling: The right demeanor is here but there are bad habits to Wildgoose’s game that have prompted too many errant challenges. He’s well built for the pro game and should be sufficient holding up physically in the slot, but there are too many bad habits to consider him a reliable tackler as things stand currently.
Versatility: There were plenty of reps taken between the slot and the perimeter—and Wildgoose appears to have the athletic profile to play either at the next level as well. He also appears to have played a greater impact in man coverage versus playing with cushion in leveraged zone, but he got plenty of sampling of zone coverages with the Badgers program.
Competitive Toughness: He is a pest at the catch point for better or for worse. He can be overly physical and grabby at the top of routes but he’s rarely going to give you a pass. Some of his LOS challenges versus quick game, runs, and screens are quite dynamic and offer big highlight hits. He did bump and scrap with bigger receivers (Michigan) at the catch point, so he won’t get tossed around when he’s a lower weight class.
Functional Athleticism: I’d consider him a very good athlete; which may result in him getting drafted higher than the on-field resume would indicate. There’s plenty here to work with from both an explosiveness and long-speed perspective. He shows some effective rotational mobility through his hips to play fluid on his vertical carries and a dynamic base to plant and drive with force.
Football IQ: The lack of experience is going to be a difficult hurdle to clear to give confidence in predraft evaluations, making him boom or bust as a draft target. He played undisciplined throughout the course of his career at Wisconsin with double-digit penalties, many of them coming in the clutch.
Run Defense: I appreciate his short-area quickness to flash and beat blocks when he’s got eyes in the backfield, but he’s going to need to tighten up tackle habits and become a more consistent wrap and mirror tackler in order to be a plus asset filling the D-gap.
Length: Wildgoose does not offer great anatomical length, but I would classify it as “sufficient." His body control and contortion skills allowed him to poke out several targeted throws while playing through the body of receivers. Add in his plus short-area burst and trigger and he should be able to contest a fair number of throws before they reach the target.
Prospect Comparison: David Long (2019 NFL Draft, Los Angeles Rams)
TDN Consensus: To Be Determined
Kyle Crabbs: 71.5/100
- Aug 08, 2022
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