- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
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Wilson led the Cougars in receiving last year with 52 catches for 813 yards and five touchdowns despite playing just nine games.
Strengths: Nearly 6-foot-3, Wilson presents matchup problems for defensive backs. Despite his height, Wilson shows surprisingly good agility, and the ability to keep defenders’ hands off him coming off the line. Given the fact he’ll likely be asked to play in the slot for the Bears, it’s encouraging that Wilson is considered a player who is willing to make tough catches over the middle. Over his first two seasons at Washington State, Wilson was highly productive, racking up 2,394 yards receiving on 137 catches.
Weaknesses: Character might be an issue. Suspended last Nov. for violating team rules, Wilson later left the team and accused the Washington State coaching staff of abuse. Wilson eventually recanted that story and explained it came as a result of him being angry with losing his starting job. Such a situation shows a lack of maturity. Interestingly, the university didn’t allow Wilson to return for its pro day. Physically, Wilson isn’t considered an imposing specimen. At the NFL Combine, Wilson benched 225 times just seven times. Wilson has also experienced concentration issues resulting in dropped passes. Wilson’s speed is considered just average.
By the numbers: Ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. Averaged 18.3 yards per catch as a true freshman and 16.9 in his sophomore year. Set the school record for receptions (82) and receiving yards (1,388) in 2011, and led the Pac-12 in receiving yards per game (115.7).
What it means: The Bears needed a dynamic receiver capable of taking the tops off coverages from the slot, but it doesn’t appear that’s what the team acquired with the selection of Wilson. Wilson has shown he can produce against solid competition based on his back-to-back 1,000-plus yard seasons in 2010 and 2011. But his issues in 2012 are cause for concern. If Wilson takes to NFL coaching and matures, there’s a good chance he’ll earn a spot somewhere in the receiver rotation. Although he’s not considered especially explosive, Wilson should be able to find a niche.
Next: The Bears will round out the 2013 class by signing undrafted prospects to free-agent contracts late Saturday and will likely announce the signings on Sunday.