Ramik Wilson, SAM Linebacker, University of Georgia
Height: 6’2” (From Combine)
Weight: 237 lbs (From Combine)
Initial Read – C+
Change of Direction -B-
Angle to Ball –C-
Block Shedding –C-
Run Stopping –B-
Tackling – C+
Ability to drop into zone –C-
Coverage Ability -C-
Total Current Grade – C-
Total Ceiling Grade – B-
Initial Read and Reaction
Wilson does a good job identifying the play post snap and reading the the lanes. Wilson fills his gap well and understands how to properly approach the run post snap. Against the pass, Wilson does a good job reading and getting into his responsibility and we’ll get into his actual coverage abilities in a bit.
Wilson shows good reaction times and is very decisive in his moves. Wilson played middle linebacker at Georgia and his instincts show why. Very good eye for the ball and plays fast. I don’t view him as a MIKE candidate and we’ll get into that in a bit as to why.
Change of direction skills and angle taken to the ball
Wilson shows good change of direction and has solid short area quickness. Wilson plays downhill well and when shooting gaps does a good job sinking his weight into his angles and exploding through the holes. In coverage Wilson struggles a bit with missteps and seems unaware and unsure of his moves with his back to the play which in turn, slow down his change of direction and planting abilities.
Wilson generally takes good angles unless faced with a potential blocker. When faced with a blocker, Wilson will opt to run around versus taking on the block heads up. This slows down his play speed and takes him out of some plays all together. Wilson needs to take on these blocks and play the angles from there on his way to the ball instead of putting his defensive backfield in the blockers path.
Block shedding, closing speed and tackling
Wilson is not a great player at disengaging from blocks. As noted above, Wilson will often take a detour versus going heads up with his man. Functional strength comes into question here for me as he does struggle springing loose on a consistent basis and that only adds to my questions as him as a potential MIKE candidate.
Wilson shows good closing speed and when the ball is near, he will attack. Wilson can make plays in the backfield as well as out in space and tracking down the ball won’t be an issue. In several aspects this is why I see Wilson as a prime SAM candidate in the Tampa 2 defense.
Wilson is a solid tackler and was the leading SEC tackler in 2013 and topped the conference in combined tackles the last two seasons. Wilson wraps up and drops his man with consistency and is a traditional no nonsense tackler. Wilson isn’t worried about the massive hit, he simply gets the job done. Wilson is not a violent hitter in any aspect, not the enforcer that some other inside linebackers are. You will see many plays where Wilson simply drags the ball carrier to the ground, he needs to show better wrapping skills on these plays as they will be broken tackles at the next level.
Dropping into zone and covering in space
Wilson when dropping into zones shows why he is not a MIKE candidate. Wilson can get to the zones and go sideline to sideline with no issues, when Wilson is asked to play the pass out of those zones though the issues arise. Wilson has little in the form of ball skills and lacks the discipline to play in coverage. Wilson left the field of play on passing downs at times in college and that will continue to happen in the NFL. MIKE linebackers need to be reliable enough to play three downs and that isn’t Wilson.
Covering in space is another struggle for Wilson. To be clear, Wilson has the athletic ability to do so but he does not have the technique or discipline to do so cleanly. Wilson will most likely not have to worry about this in the NFL as he will be taken out on third downs.
Where Ramik Wilson needs to improve:
Ramik Wilson needs to show better instincts and must get more physical when taking on blocks. In the NFL he will not be able to run around would be blockers. Wilson needs to improve his technique in coverage and must get more discipline in this area. Wilson needs to consistently show the willingness to wrap up fully and not just be content with dragging down defenders.
Where Ramik Wilson fits with the Buccaneers:
The Buccaneers have three solid starters at linebacker in Lavonte David, Bruce Carter and Danny Lansanah but have very little behind them. Lansanah is slated to be the starter at SAM but is no spring chicken age wise. Wilson would slide in nicely as a special teams player and backup SAM linebacker. Wilson comes from Tampa as a product of Jefferson High School so it would be a homecoming of sorts for him. Wilson could develop without fear of being tossed in with high expectations and eventually take over down the road as the starting SAM.
Wilson grades out as a 7.2 overall which puts him in the 5th round area talent wise. Wilson has much to work on coverage wise and taking on blocks, two things that severely hurt his grade. Wilson is a good down hill run stopper with solid potential.
Short term projection:
Special teams player early on in year one.
Long term projection:
Potential SAM starting linebacker in years two or three.
5th Round Pick.