By Adam Aniba
The 2022 receiver Draft class is diverse and extremely fast. The OSU receivers stood out from the rest, based on the their forty-yard dash times and field drills during the NFL Combine. Although Chris Olave has been mentioned as potentially the top receiver in this class, his teammate Garrett Wilson had the superior '21 season and has a higher ceiling on the next level.
Wilson showcased his ability as a big play threat in '21 with his 15.1 yards per catch average. Even more impressive is Wilson's short area quickness, which made him a lethal weapon on comeback routes and designed screens. Wilson is a threat to take it to the house anytime he gets his hands on the ball and could be the first receiver drafted in April.
6'0" 183 lbs | WR | OSU
Draft Proj 1st Rd Top 15
Career (32 games) 143 rec 2,213 yards & 23 tds 15.5 per rec
'21 (11 games ) 70 rec for 1,058 yards & 12 tds 15.1 per rec
*Rushing- 4 att 76 yds & 1 td with a 19.0 ypc avg
Wilson attended Lake Travis HS in Texas where he starred as the team's top receiver and was a 5-star recruit. Wilson would lead the team to the 6A state championship breaking the teams career reception mark (204 rec), total yards (3,359 yds) and total touchdowns (55). Wilson would was selected to the '19 All-American Bowl and accepted the offer to play for Ohio State.
Making An Impression
Wilson made his presence felt immediately as a true freshman in 2019, registering 30 receptions for 432 yards and 5 scores. The OSU receiver was just getting comfortable in Columbus and was selected to the First Team All Big Ten as a sophomore in '20, registering 43 receptions for 723 yards and 5 tds (lead the team with 16.8 per rec).
In 2021, Wilson finally started getting recognition as one of the best big play receivers in the nation. The 59-31 victory over Purdue was his statement game earning Wilson Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. In the matchup, the OSU receiver dazzled with 4 tds (1 rushing). Wilson was the first player in OSU history to score 4 touchdowns in a game, in that manner.
Great play at quarterback and the chemistry formed, can't be understated. Buckeye QB CJ Stroud and Wilson connected 70 times in '21 and were a force in the Big Ten. Wilson will be a vertical threat on the next level, but his ability in the short passing game was highlighted in OSU's HC Ryan Day's diverse offensive scheme.
Day learned under Chip Kelley during his time as QB for UNH, absorbing the nuances of the spread scheme. Day would take what he learned from Kelley, accepting the receivers coach for Boston college post playing career. Day would merge his philosophy with pro-concepts to design an ever changing offensive scheme. Players like Wilson are utilized as weapons, instead of pigeonholed to standard X, Z or slot receivers in Day's scheme.
Day discussed his philosophy prior to the combine and the following to say.
“I think kind of the art of coaching college football is adjusting your scheme to utilize the personnel that you have at that moment. We recruit the best players and then adjust our scheme. That’s the coach’s job, to put them in the best position to be successful".
In the short passing game, slants, hitches and comebacks often led to high percentage plays with Wilson often being on the receiving end. Utilizing a solid zone run scheme to open up opportunities in RPO, play-action and screens certainly gives Wilson the background and knowledge that translate to the next level.
Wilson, not only displayed his speed at the NFL Combine (4.38 sec forty), but his ability in the gauntlet drill showed how natural of a pass catcher he truly is. The OSU receiver wowed scouts during the draft process and saw his stock increase after the combine.
Impressive strait line speed and short area quickness
Excels making contested catches, plays bigger than his size
Natural hands catcher, shows no fear in traffic
Extremely tough, routinely breaks tackles after initial contact
Although projects as a slot receiver, has the ability to line up at the X or Y as well
High football IQ with an understanding how to win vs man or zone coverage
Tendency to drop routine balls (minor concern)
Needs to add weight to withstand the grind of the NFL
Can struggle to get a clean release vs press coverage (minor concern coachable)
Asked to run a limited route tree
Bad habit of rounding off routes, needs to be more decisive
Needs refinement with footwork and countermoves
Wilson started the '21 season with 4 straight 100-yard receiving games, the second-longest streak in school history. Some receivers in the draft class may offer more size, but pound for pound, Wilson displayed how tough he is regardless of the matchup. Teams covet Wilson's type of expolviness in quick game, especially with crossers and mesh concepts.
Wilson chose to forgo his senior season. His progression every season, displayed how high of a ceiling the Buckeye receiver has. Wilson plays bigger than his measurables suggest and will be a tough 1-on-1 matchup in the NFL. His ability to manipulate defensive backs, with his quick-twitch stutter step should lead to early success.
Wilson's knack for finding holes in zone coverage, in addition to utilizing his quickness and explosiveness in the short passing game, will intrigue receiver needy teams. Wilson is the most exciting receiver prospect in this year's class and displays the ability to be a Day 1 contributor as a slot receiver.
*Game Watched- 9/2/21 vs Minn, 9/11 vs ORE, 9/18 vs TLSA, 9/25 vs ARK, 10/2 vs RUTG, 10/9 vs MD, 10/23 vs IU, 10/30 vs PSU, 11/13 vs PUR, 11/20 vs MSU, 11/27 vs MICH
*Team Fits- WAS, PHI, CLEV, GB, PHI, SF, ATL, ARZ and TENN
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