Every Monday, the draft experts over at the Locked On NFL Draft podcast do a first round mock draft. This week former NFL and AFL cornerback Eric Crocker and analytics expert Ryan Tracy mocked the non-playoff teams.
With the New Orleans Saints filling that last spot, they selected 18th overall where Tracy sent them Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson.
Good luck covering Garrett Wilson #nfl #nfldraft #ohiostate pic.twitter.com/dlsOkvOCtF— 2022 NFL Class (@2022NFLDraftWRs) January 9, 2022
Garrett Wilson is a 6-foot and 192-pound receiver that is one of the three phenomenal wideouts that took the field for Ohio State this season. Wilson totaled 70 catches for 1,058 yards and 12 touchdowns in his final season. He’ll enter the 2022 NFL Draft after his Junior year, a younger prospect than his cohort Chris Olave.
Wilson is a sure-handed receiver that can move around playing both inside and out. He caught over 70% of his targets throughout three seasons. While he does have some drops that jump off the tape, he should translate well as a reliable target to the NFL level.
If the Saints continue to build their offense around quick passes and attacking the short to intermediate areas of the field (0-19 yards from the line of scrimmage), Wilson could be a great fit. He’s not the a perennial deep threat that Olave and Smith-Njigba will be noted as, but he’s been able to stretch the field for quarterbacks Justin Field and C.J. Stroud.
Wilson will receive the “slot receiver” tag a ton over the course of this offseason, much like former LSU receiver Justin Jefferson. But he’s done the majority of his work throughout his career on the outside (68.7% of snaps out wide at OSU) and should be able to continue his production from multiple spots in the NFL. No need to limit a talented prospect at this point.
Garrett Wilson - A small thread— Jake (@DynastyFFJake) January 14, 2022
I don’t think dynasty twitter understand how big of a freak Garrett Wilson is… This is him as a true freshman facing Derion Kendrick. pic.twitter.com/qt0Qvmpwjt
In 2021 he caught nine passes for 322 yard and five touchdowns when targeted beyond 20 yards from the line of scrimmage. That’s an average of 35.8 yards per catch in those situations.
His ability to create separation is apparent. At The Opening he clocked in at just 4.61 during his 40 yard dash, but should test faster at the NFL Combine. Even though he may not test into the 4.3-4.4 range, he creates separation with his route-running ability, burst, and propensity to sell double-moves and bluffs on breaks. Particularly effective at working back toward the quarterback.
Tracy also mentioned that he had looked to land a quarterback talent to the team in the first round, but no longer had a prospect that he really felt was a fit. The quarterbacks off the board were Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral of Mississippi, and a rising Sam Howell of North Carolina.
The Saints also had their pick of the litter at wideout when they selected Wilson in this mock, as he was the first receiver off the board. Available options like Ohio State’s Chris Olave, Arkansas’ Treylon Burks, and Jameson Williams of Alabama are other names often matched up with the Saints at WR in expert mock drafts.
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