C-USA Defensive MVP Falls to 7th Rd

C.J. Wilson of East Carolina, who had 27 sacks in his career, is fired up after sliding to the end of the draft. The 6-foot-3, 290-pounder adds to the Packers' deep defensive line.

C.J. Wilson probably needed to go play a piano.

Wilson, the Packers' seventh-round draft pick out of East Carolina, says he plays the piano to help "soothe" him after a stressful or challenging day. Friday and Saturday were definitely challenging. The defensive end expected to go as soon as the third round after winning Conference USA honors as defensive player of the year as a senior.

"Very fired up," Wilson said. "I have no idea (what happened). I have no idea, but I just know that I'm very fired up about it and I'm 10 times … I'm so 100 percent sure that some of the guys (who were drafted before me), I'm a lot better than them, but time will tell."

With offenses sliding protections his way or using double-team or chip blocks, the 6-foot-3, 290-pound Wilson wrapped up his career with 5.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for losses and 14 quarterback pressures as a senior. That production came on the heels of a dominant junior campaign in which he piled up 10.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles for losses.

"I have no idea" why Wilson lasted until the seventh round, general manager Ted Thompson said. "I talked to him briefly before we turned the card in, and he's pretty fired up to show people everybody made a mistake. We liked him a lot. Brian Gutekunst scouts in that area. His dad worked at East Carolina this year towards the end of the season, and we felt like we knew him very well. He's a very impressive player. We had him higher on our board than where he wound up going."

Not surprising. Wilson is big, strong (32 reps on the 225-pound bench press) and athletic (4.88 in the 40 with a 33-inch vertical). He closed his career with 37 consecutive starts and 44 in all, tallying 27 sacks and 35 pressures in the process.

The Packers are now overflowing in defensive linemen, with second-round pick Mike Neal joining the established group of Cullen Jenkins, Johnny Jolly, Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji and Jarius Wynn. Oft-injured Justin Harrell and Ronald Talley, an undrafted rookie last year, also are in the mix. Thompson said he would "never make any assumptions" about a league suspension for Jolly in his codeine case.

Regardless, the Packers are set should Jolly miss time and Harrell be unable to get his career off the ground, with coach Mike McCarthy saying this will be the best defensive line competition during his tenure in Green Bay.

Wilson will be front and center in that battle.

"Really quick off the ball. He's got good quick hands," Thompson said in providing a scouting report. "He's got the ability to stick his hands in the chest and back them off the ball. He can rush from the inside. They move him around a lot. He's a very fired up human being right this second."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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