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2019 NFL Draft Prospects: Alabama ILB Mack Wilson definitely has the sauce

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Mack Wilson struggled down the stretch, but his entire film is impressive

NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Alabama vs Georgia Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

It is a weak ILB class, and Mack Wilson was the ultimate shocking declaration after he seemed to make every indication, even to his own mother, that he was heading back to Alabama for his senior season. So, when he announced that he indeed was coming out for the 2019 NFL Draft, people did question it because he struggled mightily down the stretch, and yet, Wilson still proved that he indeed had potential at the next level. The guy is divisive, but, he is very good.


Measurements

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 239 lbs

Expected 40: 4.55

Data courtesy of SportsReference.com


Film Room

Mack Wilson is an athletic LB. Maybe not on the level of Devin White, but he sure does have better coverage skills and just a slight bit less of that athleticism. This is a LB that can fly sideline-to-sideline and make a legitimate impact on the game.

Wilson has an uncanny skill that most LBs do not have — ball skills. I mean how many LBs can actually make this play? There aren’t many of them folks. This is an elite level play by Mack Wilson, and man, this dude can just flat out cover guys. His ability to change direction, stay with guys, and process the play is something that should make teams want to get this guy really early in the draft.

Wilson proved that he could lay the boom and be an alpha male in the middle of the defense super often this season. He made plays like this and just wowed everyone that watched Alabama play. Wilson can read a play and make the splash a defense like the Steelers would need, especially in coverage, where he is an elite coverage LB.

Wilson knows how to use his strength and shed blocks well. He can ride with an OL, keep his integrity of positioning and yet still shed blocks. He can come downhill to make plays, or he can be that second layer of defense. That is a huge thing to for an ILB to have, and he can sift through the trash as a result of that trait.

This is another example of that. He flies downhill and moves the guard with him to the open lane and floods this lane. Classic run defense as he takes the garbage with him to clog up the lane. Strong leverage, and strong rip to disengage makes this a super easy play for Wilson, he is legit great at this.


Weaknesses

Wilson takes inconsistent angles like no other. His angles need serious refinement and they cause him to either miss tackles or just whiff completely. His true tackling form is also sometimes flawed. He can miss tackles that he should make and both of these problems go together in a pretty clear capacity. He just has to curb the aggressiveness he has back slightly.


Fit with the Steelers

Wilson works perfectly in a 3-4 as a great MACK ILB to really complement L.J. Fort. Not only are both good coverage LBs, but both will be aggressive downhill players who can make sideline-to-sideline plays. That type of schematic option is huge, so Wilson can open up this defense in a way that they have not had since Ryan Shazier was injured.


Final Thoughts

Optimistic View: Wilson is able to curtail his aggressiveness, fix up his form, and truly finish his form out with more muscle, and with it, Wilson becomes one of the premier ILB of the league. His ability to change a game through either splash tackles for loss or interceptions as an elite coverage LB are why teams fear him.

Pessimistic View: Mack Wilson becomes an athletic LB that, while an elite coverage LB, fails to truly take advantage of his full elite range due to bad tackling and poor angles, thus leaving him somewhat of a liability at times. His inconsistent play leaves him at only a good LB2, and someone should really be the alpha ILB over him.

My Take: Wilson is a dang good ILB, and while the struggles down the stretch at the end of the year are somewhat concerning, they are not the end all be all. Wilson had elite 2017 tape, and most of his 2018 tape was really, really good. He will test well and changes the dynamic of this defense. He is a fine option for the 20th pick.