Kyle Wilson - 2010 First Round Draft Pick
The first prime-time first-round in NFL draft history unfolded tonight pick by pick, trade by trade. And shortly before 10:40 p.m., it was the Jets' turn to pump up the ratings with their draft plot twist.
The Green & White didn't disappoint, selecting Kyle Wilson, the cornerback from Boise State who played his high school ball a 45-minute drive away from the Jets training complex in Piscataway, N.J.
"I feel like I'm right at home," Wilson told Jets reporters in a conference call after the first round concluded.
His selection fulfilled head coach Rex Ryan's directive as expressed to general manager Mike Tannenbaum, something along the lines of: "Get me cornerbacks!"
Wilson joins a corner group that already contains talented starters in two-time Pro Bowler Darrelle Revis and one-time all-star Antonio Cromartie, acquired in trade from San Diego last month. The prospect isn't daunting for him.
"To be honest, it couldn't be any better," he said. "It's going to be a great competition. Those guys have been playing well for years, and I look forward to playing well as well."
Wilson had an outstanding career at Boise State but may have needed to convince coaches and personnel people around the league of his skills, which he did with an outstanding week of Senior Bowl practices. Detroit Lions receivers coach Shawn Jefferson was quoted as saying of Wilson, "That's the guy that's been a pain in my butt so far."
"I definitely think that opened some people's eyes and some of the skeptics who didn't believe I was playing against top-flight competition," Wilson said.
That confidence was shaken just a little tonight. Wilson, who some draft analysts thought could go higher in the draft, said he "got a little nervous there toward the end" of tonight's first-round festivities. He was the fourth pure corner to come off the boards, behind Florida's Joe Haden, who went to the Browns at No. 7, Alabama's Kareem Jackson (Houston, 20th), and Rutgers' Devin McCourty (New England, 27th).
But that confidence had already helped him form a quick early bond with Ryan and the Jets coaches.
"I think it was just a sense of playing with a purpose, with that swagger," he said. "I definitely think I'll just fit in well. That confidence about Coach Ryan, that sense of really having fun and loving the game of football, just that connection between the two of us, that just seems to be perfect."
The Jets' selection of Wilson, who played his scholastic ball not far from their Florham Park, N.J., complex at Piscataway High School, capped an all-East Coast stretch of the draft. The Patriots, following their second first-round tradedown, selected McCourty at No. 27. Then Miami at 28 took Penn State defensive tackle Jared Odrick, putting the Jets on the clock.
The Jets spent almost all of their allotted 10 minutes, accompanied by the din from the green-and-white-clad fans in the Radio City Music Hall stands, before taking Wilson (5'10", 194), who not only plays corner but also will help in the return game. As NFL.com said of Wilson's Boise career, he "did nothing but produce."
Wilson played in 50 games in four seasons for the Broncos, starting the last 45, and totaled 11 interceptions, 27 passes broken up, 10 tackles for loss, two sacks and 160 tackles in all. His returning up in Big Sky country was predominantly as a punt returner and a strong one at that — 63 career returns for 793 yards (12.6-yard average) and three touchdown returns, all in 2008.
In particular he loved picking on state rival Idaho, returning a 71-yard interception for one of his two INT-return TDs last season and a 79-yard punt for a TD in '08. He also had a 90-yard PR score vs. Fresno State in '08.
Wilson has excellent athleticism to pair with his smarts — he put up 25 reps on the 225-pound bench press at the February combine workouts when no other corner did more than 20 reps. He also was timed in the 4.42-4.43-second range in the 40 and posted a 38" vertical jump.
He was named All-Western Athletic Conference first team, All-America second-team and Academic All-WAC. Going back to his high school days, he helped lead Piscataway to three consecutive state section titles and a 33-3 record from 2002-04. He showed his versatility back then by scoring eight touchdowns in the '03 and '04 playoffs — three rushing, three receiving, one on an INT return and one on a punt return.
Wilson's key stats in his four Boise State seasons: