Small corner could make big impact for Bolts

The San Diego Chargers will be looking at cornerbacks on draft day. The team's secondary ranked No. 13 in 2006 despite benefiting from the league's most relentless pass rush, leaving plenty of room for coverage improvements. The Chargers may be looking to add a big-play specialist with some big-time speed come draft day.

Josh Wilson (5 foot 9, 186 pounds) is the best kind of corner – one with scorching speed who is rarely burnt. He moved into the University of Maryland's starting line-up as a junior and posted some impressive two-year numbers: 128 tackles, 20 pass break-ups and two interceptions.

Wilson also used his fast feet on special teams. As a senior, he returned 31 kickoffs for 847 yards (27.3-yard average), setting a school record for single-season return yards. He also blocked three kicks during his time as a Terrapin.

"I'm very talented, very fast and tough, both mentally and physically. I'm an all-around great player," Wilson said.

Wilson's skills were on full display at the Senior Bowl. No receiver was able to beat him deep or fool him with a double move. Additionally, he showed soft hands and was aggressive going after the ball, attacking it at its highest point.

However, there were areas where he struggled. He played out of control at times and had difficulty closing on underneath routes. Also, he had a tough time matching up with taller receivers, especially in the red zone.

During the Senior Bowl game, Wilson returned one kick for 22 yards and added a fumble recovery on defense.

"I think it went okay," said Wilson of his performance. "I did a lot of good things; and there are a lot of things I need to tighten up."

For Wilson to successfully make the transition to the NFL, he will have to wind up in a system that protects his shortcomings, both literally and figuratively. He would fit best in a zone defense, one that prevents him from being matched up one-on-one against larger receivers.

In San Diego's defense, which features a lot of man coverage, he would likely be limited to covering the slot.

According to Wilson, his limited size is less important than maximizing his limitless potential.

"I think I need to get better and better every day. I want to show the scouts and the coaches that I'm progressing and that I can play on the next level," he said.

Wilson should be a difference-maker as a rookie, earning his keep on special teams while he works into the defensive rotation. The Chargers may be willing to gamble on his potential, hoping he is more Ricky Manning Jr. and less Tay Cody.


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