Feb 24, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback Tyler Wilson participates in a passing drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Curious Case of Tyler Wilson


Can Jake Locker be a franchise quarterback? It seems like this question has resurrected itself every year since Locker was drafted. The young 2014 offseason is no different.

Ever since Ken Whisenhunt came to town, he has not tipped his hand for the positive or negative on Locker. He seems to be a coach that is willing to let players compete with the best performers rising to the top as starters.

Nobody ever expected Kurt Warner to have the career resurgence that he did under Whisenhunt in Arizona. He beat out their first-round draft pick for the starting gig and took them all the way to a Super Bowl.

This has Titans fans buzzing about who they should bring in to compete with Locker. The cupboard is pretty bare as far as free agents go, but there is a fresh crop of rookies available this May in the NFL draft. While there are several intriguing options in the draft, I think we are overlooking one painfully obvious possibility.

Tyler Wilson.

He was drafted with the 15th pick of the fourth round in the 2013 draft by the Oakland Raiders. In the midst of their quarterback circus that involved Matt Flynn, Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor, the Raiders stashed Wilson on their practice squad.

Late in the season, the Titans signed Wilson off of Oakland’s practice squad, and he remains on the Titans’ roster making a mere $495,000 for 2014.

Wilson’s best year in college came in 2011 for the Arkansas Razorbacks. In 2012, the Razorbacks had a tumultuous season as they lost their head coach in embarrassing fashion. Wilson remained the starter in 2012, but he had a down year.

He was projected to be a mid-round draft pick in 2013 with the possible upside to be a quality NFL starter.

The Titans will not use their first-round pick on a quarterback this year. In order to get a high-caliber quarterback, they would likely need to trade up several spots in Round 1. See Titan Sized editor, Joshua Huffman’s recent article explaining why this is unlikely to happen (HERE).

By the time Round 2 rolls around, the top four quarterbacks will surely be gone. Several Titans fans want the Titans to draft some competition for Jake Locker with their Round 2 pick.

Before you jump on that bandwagon, take a look at what they already have on their roster in Tyler Wilson and consider the other needs that could be met with that second rounder.

The following chart depicts the last two college seasons for quarterbacks rated 5-10 by Dane Brugler of cbssports.com:

Rnk Name Ht. Wt. GP Cmpl Att Cmpl % Yds TDs INTs
  Tyler Wilson 6’2 210 24 526 839 62.7% 7025 45 19
5  Jimmy Garoppolo 6’3 219 26 706 1118 63.1% 8873 84 24
6 AJ McCarron 6’3 214 26 418 620 67.4% 5609 56 8
7 Zach Mettenberger 6’5 235 25 399 648 61.6% 5691 34 15
8 Aaron Murray 6’1 201 25 474 733 64.7% 6968 62 19
9 David Fales 6’2 220 25 639 938 68.1% 8382 66 22
10 Brett Smith 6’2 206 22 498 797 62.5% 6212 56 17

 

Size: NFL quarterbacks need to be somewhat tall in order to see over the line and make precise decisions. Anyone past 6’0” is generally acceptable, but the taller the better. Wilson is fine in this department.

Experience: All of these quarterbacks have at least two seasons of work as a starter in college. While some plied their trade in weaker conferences, Wilson is one of four from this list that has played his snaps against stout SEC defenses.

Accuracy: Out of these seven quarterbacks, none dipped below 61% and none above 69% over their last 2 seasons as a starter. This gives an idea of the range of accuracy that is expected. Wilson was on the low end in this percentage category, but beat out the No. 7 and No. 10 quarterbacks listed.

Production: Wilson’s yardage totals are above average on this list, but his TD totals aren’t great.

When it comes to a quarterback competition in Tennessee this year, it is very possible. Jake Locker will get the first shot, but he could be ineffective or injured quickly. The Titans are unlikely to keep more than three total quarterbacks on the final-53 with Locker and Fitzpatrick taking up two spots. That leaves one potential opening for a competitor.

It is unheard of for a fourth-round quarterback to get essentially dropped by his team in his rookie season. Many will write Wilson off because of that.

Considering the mess that was Oakland’s quarterback situation in 2013, their judgment of quarterbacks should be called into question. Wilson’s odds may be long to make an impact in the NFL at this point, but so are most of the quarterbacks in the above list.

If the Titans don’t get an absolute steal on their QB3, why not let Tyler Wilson compete? Let me know what you think in the comments below or on twitter.

* Stats and rankings compiled from cbssports.com with salary information from rotoworld.com.

Tags: Featured NFL Popular Tennessee Titans Tyler Wilson

  • Angel

    Pryor is waaaaay better than Wilson.. McGloin has a better arm than Wilson (and Pryor) but McGloin wasn’t seasoned yet so they kept Flynn. Who sucked. Wilson must have been awful to lose the third string spot in camp. I think Raiders went into the season with all four QB’s….? ? They were doing crazy things so I’m not sure… They DID go into the season with 2 punters, I’m sure about that one. But hey Titans, wanna make a trade for Pryor?? C’mon…

    Pryor would give you guys those good ol’ McNair memories

    • Matt Ward

      I don’t know how we can qualify statements like “Pryor is way better than Wilson” and “McGloins arm is better than Wilson” unless we put full trust in the Raiders organization as talent evaluators.

      Tyler Wilson never played a regular season snap in 2013, and he got very limited reps in the preseason.

      As for Pryor, if the Raiders make him available for free as they did with Wilson, I’d be in support of giving him a league minimum contract and letting him compete. What would the Titans have to lose?

      • Angel

        I already know about his limited snaps. But as far as “trusting Raiders organization as talent evaluators”… You are right sir. (Thanks for not bringing up are last draft) heh heh. let me whisper this really loud.. Go Raiders!!
        Oh! and If I was a Titans fan, I would maybe say stick with Fitz. Instead of spending a second draft pick. He put in work last season. But yeah, I understand the keep it competitive at every position mantra. And I agree, let Wilson compete before attempting to grap up another rookie.

        • Matt Ward

          It wasn’t my intention to dog the Raiders. They made some very bold moves in order to fix their salary cap mess, and I think they are headed in a better direction. Considering the competition in their division, I think they surprised people in a few games. They have TONS of cap space to work with this year, so it will be interesting to see how much they improve. If Chris Johnson gets cut, he may be saying hello to Raider Nation!

          • Angel

            Okay cool. I was going to say Titans have never drafted or signed “busts” before?? And I said nothing about Raiders having a supreme eye for talent. I even brought up our last draft possibly being a disaster. With next seasons schedule I honestly don’t see us winning two games either so it looks like we’ll be picking #1 overall next draft. So I’m not going to DOG the Titans unless I would have said something that every person says when their team sucks at the time, “at least we have a Lombardi”.

    • Logan Spain

      The Raiders have always been one of the better teams at assessing talent, said no one ever. You guys can keep Pryor and Wilson will have a better career even if it is as a back up

  • Pingback: Tyler Wilson In The NFL Draft | Sporting Life Arkansas