Georgia’s Isaiah Wilson is a buzzy prospect right now. In a deep and talented crop of offensive tackle prospects, Wilson is an ascending name at the right time.
On Monday, TDN's Trevor Sikkema wrote about Wilson as a potential first-round sleeper and just a few hours later, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah affirmed that idea.
While Wilson is in need of development, he offers an exciting skill set and pedigree. Wilson was a 5-star recruit out of high school and had more than 80 scholarship offers but decided to take his talents to the best conference in college football. In the SEC, he was a two-year starter with three seasons of experience in a pro-style offense. Wilson measured 6-foot-6 and 350 pounds with 35.5-inch arms at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. There, he clocked a 5.32-second 40-yard dash while turning in a 110-inch broad jump. It’s easy to see why the NFL is hot on the trail for him.
In the overall reaction to the idea of Wilson as a first-round pick, there is a large element of surprise and many don’t believe it’s the appropriate range for him to get selected. The NFL drafts players based on what they can become. While Wilson isn’t a finished product, his ceiling is incredibly high.
With Wilson now firmly in the first-round discussion, it’s appropriate to consider which teams are in the running to make him a top pick. What teams does he fit? Who will bet on their ability to develop Wilson so that he reaches his potential?
Pick No. 26: Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins entered the offseason with plenty of holes to fill and have already done a terrific job finding young and proven talent. With the roster starting to take form, Miami still has some work to do and is loaded with premium draft capital to tie a bow on an outstanding period of roster construction.
While the Dolphins top pick is likely to be invested in a new franchise quarterback, they have two additional first-round selections and one of them ought to be used to improve the offensive line.
Chan Gailey’s offense is a good fit for Wilson. The horizontal spread passing concepts require quick sets from the offensive lineman which avoids frequent deeper pass sets that cause challenges for a tackle with modest footspeed like Wilson. In Gailey’s scheme, Wilson can drop a quick anchor and use his length to succeed in pass protection. Wilson is a lot to get around and Gailey will have the ball out of the quarterback's hands in a hurry by design. Any concerns about Wilson’s pass blocking skill set are severely mitigated in this style of passing game.
The unique component of Gailey’s offense is that he pairs the horizontal spread passing scheme with the power running game and there are absolutely no concerns about Wilson’s ability to drive block and create vertical push as a run blocker.
The need and fit are obvious when it comes to the Dolphins, who are well outside the range to land a top tier offensive tackle.
Pick No. 27: Seattle Seahawks
It’s not hard to examine the offensive lineman the Seattle Seahawks typically gravitate towards and see that Wilson fits the prototype.
Seattle needs a long-term answer at right tackle and is known for making surprise picks in the first round. If Miami passes on Wilson, Seattle is the next natural landing spot.
Pick No. 29: Tennessee Titans
For better or worse, the Tennessee Titans are married to the ground-and-pound offense backed by a stout defense as their formula for success. The engine that makes Tennessee's model go is running back Derrick Henry and his incredible blend of size, speed and power.
In order to maximize Henry’s output, the Titans have to make sure their offensive line is stocked full of powerful people-movers to create those runways for Henry to get loose. With Jack Conklin no longer in the mix, the right tackle position can be upgraded where Dennis Kelly is currently the projected starter. Kelly has been in the league since 2012, primarily as a backup and spot starter, offering modest upside as Conklin’s replacement.
Wilson fits the scheme and need in Tennessee if he makes it to No. 29.