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Is Kyle Wilson the Next Revis?

Kyle Wilson nfl posing with Jersey #20

No, Not at All

The New York Jets have the best cornerback tandem in Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, a duo most opposing quarterbacks try to avoid. The best option teams take is to throw in the direction of the other defensive secondary. Up to recently teams used to throw to the receiver covered by Kyle Wilson and gain big yards. Wilson has significantly improved from his rookie year but he is still isn’t a proven reliable cornerback. Let us analyze.

2010 CB performance

The second year cornerback out of Boise State was inevitably the weakest link in the Jets defense last season. While “Revis Island” and “Cro” matched up well against the opposing teams’ star receivers, Wilson could not cover the third receiver. In the season opener game against the Baltimore Ravens the Jets defense was able to contain the Ravens offense early on but the Raven’s quarterback Joe Flacco soon noticed that throwing to the rookie Wilson resulted in big gains. Wilson could not cover Anquan Boldin and was targeted the rest of the game. The Jet’s loss to the Ravens is not due entirely to Wilson but he was a major contributing factor.

In a “copy cat” league, Kyle Wilson was targeted the following weeks as teams became aware of the Jets weakness in their nickel coverage. The Jets eventually relieved Wilson as a starter and they interchanged Wilson as the third cornerback along with Marquice Cole, Drew Coleman and Dwight Lowery. With this change, Wilson saw his playing time now as part of the Jets’ special teams and less and less as a coverage cornerback the rest of the 2010 season.

Kyle Wilson in 2011

Due to this, Kyle Wilson worked out with Revis this offseason in hopes of contributing more on the defense for 2011. And he has; as a position defensive player. Kyle Wilson has not given up a big play and has made crucial tackles but this is due in large to the different role he is being asked to play. Whereas last year Wilson had to solely cover the third receiver one-on-one, this year Wilson is covering tight ends and running backs. He is no longer the primary match up against the slot receiver since he does not yet have the overall covering skills. Instead his role is focused on running backs who are receiving the ball behind the line of scrimmage and tightends who have less speed than a receiver. Within this coverage Wilson is doing a good job.

Yet, this is not the same as lining up against and covering a receiver running different route patterns. Wilson isn’t covering the long passes as much as he was last year. As a rookie he was asked to play like Revis but it is better to gradually work Wilson into the defense. His role is reduced to tackling the short passes working near the line of scrimmage.

Even though Wilson was a first round draft pick it was a mistake to immediately play Wilson as a starter. So far Wilson is completing his assignments and only time will tell whether he will be able to be the reliable starter for the Jets once Revis and Cromartie move on.

Photo credits: AP Photo/Tony Dejak

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Written by Nassau Jones

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