Draft Closes with a Linebacker

Posted Apr 24, 2005

Depth at linebacker was a priority heading into the draft and the Bears were able to address the need with the selection of South Carolina’s Rod Wilson.

The six-foot-2, 230-pound Wilson doesn’t have a lot of experience at linebacker because he played multiple positions during his time at South Carolina.

That being said, Wilson obviously has athletic ability, which allowed him to spend time at quarterback, wide receiver, safety and linebacker.

Wilson, who ran a forty-yard dash time of 4.7 seconds, finished his senior campaign in strong fashion. He started all 11 games and tallied 68 tackles to go with three sacks. He has the ability to go sideline to sideline and is above average in pass coverage.

“He fits the mold that we like as far as linebackers because he is a run and hit guy and he’s got pretty good instincts,” said Greg Gabriel, director of college scouting. “He’ll be a good special teams player for us.”

On the downside, Wilson will take time to adjust to the NFL style of linebacker. He has a tendency to run around blocks instead of attacking them straight on.

Part of the reason Wilson lasted until the 220th selection is because of a legal matter at the end his college career.

Wilson was mistakenly linked to other members of the football team that stole computers. However, the Bears are confident in Wilson’s explication of the situation and have no character concerns.

Although the Bears may have been tempted to take a linebacker earlier in the draft, they tried to stay away from grasping at a need position and instead took the highest rated player on their board.

“We weren’t going to reach to take a guy and say, ‘We had to get a defensive player,’ and leave a good offensive player up there,” Gabriel said. “It wasn’t necessarily the plan to take another wide receiver, but he was literally the best guy we had on the board and he’s a skill guy with a lot of speed and he was too good to pass up. If he turns out to be a real good player somewhere else, then it haunts you.”

Related Stories
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 -by BearReport.com  Jul 13, 2005
Player Perspective: Rod Wilson
 -by BearReport.com  Oct 27, 2005
Bears Go Defense in the Sixth Round
 -by BearReport.com  Apr 24, 2005

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