The Philadelphia Eagles added to their skinny linebacker corps final week by signing Eric Wilson to a one-year contract. Reunited with Jonathan Gannon and Nick Rallis, Wilson figures to be a starter in Philly.
With the intention to study extra in regards to the Eagles’ latest defender, I assumed it’d profit BGN readers to get a Minnesota Vikings perspective on Wilson. I reached out to the wonderful Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson) of Each day Norseman and right here’s what he needed to share.
1 – Are you able to recap Wilson’s profession with the Vikings? Which place(s) did he play?
Wilson’s profession arc is definitely fairly much like his fellow Eagles teammate Anthony Harris. Like Harris, Wilson went undrafted and didn’t play a lot in his first season with the Vikings. He was a shock inclusion on the 53-man roster and performed solely particular groups in 2017. Wilson began working his means into the defensive rotation because the third linebacker in base protection in 2018. He noticed about 100 extra defensive snaps in 2019, beginning six video games and racking up 62 tackles together with three sacks. He seemed poised for the same function in 2020 till Anthony Barr went down for the season in Week 2. In three years, Wilson went from undrafted particular teamer to every-down linebacker. He led the group in tackles and nabbed the primary three interceptions of his profession in his expanded function.
Earlier than the 2020 season, nearly all of his defensive snaps had been at outdoors linebacker in Mike Zimmer’s base 4-3 protection. When he grew to become an every-down linebacker, he and Eric Kendricks grew to become fairly interchangeable so far as the place they lined up. Wilson performed an analogous quantity of snaps on all sides of the formation final 12 months.
2 – How do Vikings followers really feel in regards to the group not re-signing him? Are you stunned it took him this lengthy to signal?
With how skinny the Vikings are at linebacker after Kendricks and Barr, I believe most Vikings followers would have welcomed Wilson again, particularly on the value that the Eagles paid for him. The Vikings signed Nick Vigil for about $1.5 million lower than Wilson bought, which is simply superb so long as Vigil isn’t requested to play each down like Wilson did in 2020. If Kendricks and Barr are wholesome for a lot of the season, I don’t assume Wilson will probably be missed a ton. Nonetheless, if both starter misses important time—Barr missed the ultimate 14 video games of the season whereas Kendricks missed the ultimate 5—then his absence will probably be felt extra.
I’m fairly stunned that the market wasn’t stronger for Wilson. Most Vikings followers figured that Wilson had priced himself out of the Vikings re-signing him along with his play in 2020. Wilson actually has some shortcomings that we’ll get into in a bit, however I truthfully thought he would discover a new dwelling a lot sooner at a better value than what he bought from Philadelphia.
3 – What are Wilson’s strengths?
Wilson is a superb athlete—his 9.48 Relative Athletic Rating (RAS) put him close to the highest of the 2017 draft class. As a former security, he’s excellent in move protection for a linebacker, with the flexibility to cowl working backs and tight ends in each man protection and zone. Wilson has an excellent nostril for the ball and excels at closing in on routes to verify quick passes into area don’t flip into massive performs. He has additionally confirmed to be extraordinarily sturdy—Wilson hasn’t missed a single recreation by means of his first 4 seasons within the NFL.
4 – What are Wilson’s weaknesses?
Two phrases: run protection. Wilson’s measurement (6’1”, 230) and iffy tackling have all the time made him a legal responsibility within the run recreation, and that bought him into lots of bother in 2020. Wilson’s weak spot stopping the run confirmed each on movie and in superior metrics. Professional Soccer Focus gave Wilson a paltry 38.3 run protection grade and credited him with a team-high 20 missed tackles final 12 months. He can get utterly worn out of performs towards the run. Whilst you can’t blame all the Vikings’ woes stopping the run in 2020 on Wilson, it’s no coincidence that they bought worse in that space when he was thrust into a bigger function final season.
5 – The rest to find out about him off the sphere?
In my interactions with Wilson, he isn’t essentially the most bombastic participant I’ve coated by any means, however he was all the time very beneficiant along with his time and considerate along with his interview solutions. Teammates actually appear to love him and root for him. I bear in mind a Coaching Camp apply in 2018 the place Wilson bought a pick-six in a scrimmage. Kendricks and Barr each chased him down the sideline whereas whooping it up for his or her teammate’s success. Like fellow Viking-turned-Eagle Harris, Wilson doesn’t appear to be a rah-rah sort of man, however nonetheless earns respect of his teammates by the work he places in. One different enjoyable truth—apparently he skateboards in his free time! Alas, I’ve by no means witnessed it or mentioned it with him, so perhaps that’s one thing you may ask him about.