Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson is the eighth of nine 2013 NFL Draft quarterback prospects that Buffalo Rumblings will profile this off-season. Wilson's best season was two years ago, when he led Arkansas to an 11-2 record, continuing the Razorbacks' success as a Top 10 program nationally. The dismissal of head coach Bobby Petrino in the off-season set up Arkansas for a bad year in 2012, which was compounded by injuries to Wilson.
Tyler Wilson | QB | Arkansas
- 6'2 1/8", 215 pounds
- Started 24 games over three seasons (15-9 record, 1-0 in bowl games)
- Career stats: 593/948 (62.6% completions), 7,765 yards (8.2 YPA), 52 TD, 26 INT
Wilson is average physically with some good traits. Has has good arm strength - not great - and can deliver the ball with velocity on most NFL passes. He's accurate, though throwing into tight windows in the SEC isn't that common, and Petrino's offense can open up some wide gaps in coverage. Wilson is good, maybe best, on the move. He can deliver with different arm angles without losing much velocity or accuracy. He has good pocket presence and avoids the rush well, often looking like a magician as he turns a seemingly dead play into a gain.
Mentally, Wilson is checked into every game and every snap he plays. He's a vocal leader who's very determined and competitive. Wilson is careful with the ball, only fumbling twice in 2012 despite very small hands. He's adept at reading defenses both pre- and post-snap. He gets rid of the ball very quickly, and plays best in a rhythm offense where he's asked to drop and fire quickly. Wilson would be a natural for what Buffalo and Chan Gailey did the last three years on offense.
Wilson has a small frame and isn't going to progress much physically. He's not sturdy, and injuries could always be a concern - though he's proven that he'll play through injuries. He's got some wind-up to his delivery that allows defenders to get a jump on the ball. Wilson's arm strength was much better as a junior, when he hit intermediate throws often, but it's clear that he needs to be healthy to be truly effective.
Wilson does well with most of the finer points of the game, but he does have a maddening tendency to stare down his primary receiver. He makes bad decisions when defenses force him away from his primary read. He also has Tony Romo moments when he tries to make a play no quarterback should make, mostly trying to force the football where it shouldn't go.
There will always be concerns with a Petrino-produced quarterback. Arkansas' offense hides quarterback weaknesses, inflates stats, and fields a team with high-end receiving talent on a yearly basis. Quarterbacks from Petrino's system have not contributed professionally to date after playing very well in college (Brian Brohm, Ryan Mallett).
Wilson is a fantastic rhythm thrower that needs to go to a team with a horizontal timing offense that gets the ball out quickly. He's best in a system where information is mostly complete pre-snap, and he can drop, step, and fire. He's a good decision maker that needs to learn that he can't fire the football everywhere he wants, and can't challenge NFL defenses the way he challenged SEC defenses the past two years.
Wilson needs to go to a team that turns the game into a mental match-up contest. A horizontal passing offense that gets the ball out quickly with solid pass protection is the right fit for Wilson. A team that runs an offense similar to what Buffalo ran last season is ideal. Wilson is a better version of former Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, with more accuracy, more arm strength, and better leadership skills.