Florida State defensive tackle Marvin Wilson has a lot of athletic upside. He just needs to be more consistent.
Part of his problem might be the team he plays for. Florida State have been bad for a while. Really bad at times. It’s hard to show anything but the occasional flash in that environment. There are some technical flaws though that prevent him really becoming a dominant force.
For starters he’s tall (6-5). When you’re playing exclusively inside at that size you’ve got to master leverage. Too often he plays upright and his pad level means he cedes leverage. He doesn’t control double teams in the way Raekwon Davis did at Alabama. He can get jolted backwards and the very least you expect from a player with this build is to be stout at the POA.
His gap discipline isn’t always great either. That can be blamed on scheme and coaching. You have to commit to it. At Alabama they do (as they do in Seattle). Other teams are happy to play free and fancy — to attack and try to find gaps rather than handling your business. Still, this isn’t something you can assume will be better at the next level.
These are some of the reasons why he possibly didn’t declare for the 2020 draft. I’m not sure what feedback he received from the draft committee but if he’d been given a first round grade — and with FSU going through another raft of changes — you’d think he would’ve turned pro. Especially in a weak year for defensive linemen. He didn’t declare and will return to college in 2020.
So with all that noted, what makes him interesting?
There are great flashes. Despite missing the final month of last season he still managed 8.5 TFL’s and five sacks at defensive tackle. His 2019 pass rush win percentage was 16.8%. Only Javon Kinlaw and Jordan Elliott scored higher marks. He also broke up four passes, forced a fumble and added a couple of hurries too.
There’s no questioning his athleticism. At SPARQ he ran a 5.17 at 332lbs. He also added a 4.56 short shuttle which is superb for his size (Malik McDowell ran a 4.53 at 295lbs). Wilson was the #4 overall recruit in the country and was coveted by all the top teams (especially Ohio State, LSU and Oklahoma — but also Alabama, Florida and Georgia). It would’ve been interesting to see what he could’ve achieved with one of the big SEC teams or Ohio State given FSU’s collapse. He’s from Texas, so there was no local connection to the Seminoles.
He’s now listed at about 311lbs so he could be even quicker and more athletic. Watching him on tape it wouldn’t be a surprise if he sneaked under 5.00 for his forty. He’s so quick and when he times his get-off he explodes into the backfield. He’s not just a straight-line runner either. He can shake off blockers and he’s incredibly agile with quick feet for his size.
Wilson isn’t a slouch when it comes to power either. You see evidence of heavy hands and an impressive jolt when he connects. He can create room to work with initial contact and once he separates from a blocker he has the quickness and agility to work into the backfield.
I’ve not seen any problems with his motor which was something I looked for given the way Florida State’s last couple of seasons went. He’s smart enough to jump and tip a pass if his initial rush stalls.
The one thing he isn’t is explosive. That shows up especially when he has to plant the anchor sometimes. He’s also not going to explode out of the traps and leave blockers standing. He’s going to need to beat opponents, not blow by them. He only jumped a 25 inch vertical at SPARQ. So while he’s quick for his size — he’s not tremendously explosive.
Wilson is appearing on a lot of early watch-lists and he’s immensely talent with enormous potential. Yet the dearth of obvious ‘second tier’ candidates behind the Trevor Lawrence, Penei Sewell, JaMarr Chase and Micah Parsons group has led to some projecting he could go top-10. It’s a bit rich to make that projection now. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility but he has things to work on. At this stage he’s a potential top-50 pick if he can have a good season. A terrific 2020, with his testing potential, could launch him into the first round.
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