Christian Wilkins

IDL, Clemson

  • Conf ACC
  • Jersey #42
  • Class Senior
  • HT 6'4"
  • DOB 12/20/1995
  • WT 300 lbs




    Get-off/Burst - 2nd/3rd/4th steps are better than his first. Good reaction timing off the snap when he lines up over the ball, but the further away he gets the less explosive his initial jump is. Not a gap-shooter by nature, but quick enough after the snap to slip through and play behind the line of scrimmage. Quick-footed without being overly twitched-up.

    Leverage - Plays with excellent leverage and rarely suffers from high pad level. Squatty frame, would not guess 6-foot-4 from watching him on tape. Good knee bend exposes minimal surface area to blockers. Struggles to anchor against down blocks and can get bodied off the ball by double teams despite low pad level.

    Hand Usage - Flashes of powerful hand usage to hump move defenders and shed blocks at the line of scrimmage, but still inconsistent. Does not have great length nor does he utilize full arm extension to keep blockers off his frame. Ends up body-to-body too much in the run game, leaning on blocks to create a little push, but often struggling to disengage cleanly. Does typically get his hands well-placed inside, but establishing clean control doesn't happen consistently. Keeps his hands active to work through trash against pulling action to re-route backs behind the line of scrimmage.

    Rush Plan/Counters - Has moves and power, just has to string it all together much quicker. Too many slow-burn pass rush wins, often got in clean just after the ball was released. Generates some power in his bull rush, but preference to go speed to power to secondary move is a long combination that wins slowly. Clearly possesses the quickness and hand usage to get opponent off-balance and work to his edge. Flashes of it against Texas A&M and other games revealed a strong cross-chop and swim move to go with his power moves. Ascending player in this area.

    Mental Processing/Block Recognition - Most inconsistent thing about his tape is recognition and success against zone schemes. Struggled against N.C. State but was way better against Boston College. Can get too deep and leave rush lanes in behind him. Smart football player who just has to keep his wits about him a bit more on the field. Reads base blocks and down blocks pretty well, had better success vs doubles this past season than in 2017.

    Range - Has the range to play in space, showing solid change-of-direction and light feet. Has made plays away from his gap when he gets through the LOS clean. Should test well and has tape to back up being a strong athlete in space, even dropping into coverage on occasion. Boston College tape showcased just how rangy he can be as a 3-technique.

    Bend/Flexibility - Really bendy interior defensive lineman with the ability to turn some tight angles through contact and flatten to the quarterback around the outside edge of the blocker. Dips his shoulder and rips up through contact well when working at half-man.

    Tackling - Has had some missed tackles when attempting to go outside his frame, but is generally strong in this area while not being a big hitter. Wraps up with good form when he can square up the ball carrier.

    Competitive Toughness - Toughness, leadership and effort can't be questioned. Hard-working on and off the field and described as a rare personality and leader at the college level. Heart-and-soul type of guy. Did see some plays in certain games where he appeared to run out of steam late, but I chalk those more up to situational fatigue than an actual concern.

    Athleticism/Size - Lacks ideal length for the position and does carry some weight in his gut. Neither seem to impact him much as a player, but NFL may want to clean up his body some. Might be maxed out at 300 pounds, if that ends up being where he weighs in. Should test well and appears to be at least a solid athlete on tape.

    BEST TRAIT - Leverage/Pad Level

    WORST TRAIT - Pass Rush Consistency

    RED FLAGS - None

    Wilkins might be a tad small and short-armed for the average defensive tackle, but what he lacks in impressive physical physique he makes up for with elite leverage to maximize his power on every snap. Wilkins improved significantly as a pass rusher and point-of-attack run defender this past season, showing the ability to hold the line of scrimmage more consistently while also threatening blockers on their edge more often.

    Of course, he still comes with a few concerns that keep him from a Round 1 grade on my board, including consistency with his rush plan and his lack of dominant hand usage as a run defender to control space. Wilkins is a good player who should start early in the NFL, but have we seen the peak of his abilities already? I do think as a 3-technique he will have more production in the NFL, rather than playing all over the front like Clemson asked him to. His character and leadership will be a welcome addition to any locker room as a top 50 pick.

    Round Grade: 2nd