With Jordan Jenkins and Amarlo Herrera settling in on the outside, Ramik Wilson concentrated all year on middle linebacker chores, again reaching the “century mark” with a 110-tackle performance in 2014. He delivered seven stops behind the line of scrimmage, causing a fumble from a sack, as three of his six QB pressures caused interceptions. As a junior, he established himself as a hard-hitting open field tackler, ranking 14th in the nation with 133 hits, limiting ball carriers to 76 yards on 72 running plays he was involved in, taking those runners down for losses on eleven snaps.
The Bulldog can play any position in the linebacker unit, but he shows very good lateral quickness and initial burst to string plays wide from the “Mike” slot. He takes solid angles in pursuit and does a good job of sifting through traffic. He’s powerful enough to take on blocks in the phone booth and when he's playing with leverage, he explodes through tackles and is reliable in space.
A sideline-to-sideline pursuit type, he also demonstrates good agility and fluidness dropping back in pass coverage. He gets a deep drop in zone coverage and displays above-average range. He can easily match up vs. most tight ends and running backs one-on-one covering in the short area. He also displays good burst and instincts as a blitzer, as well.
Wilson has good closing speed, showing urgency and a burst when attacking the ball carriers. He has a fluid change of direction and the range to make plays along the side-lines. He has the flexible knee bend needed to redirect and does a good job of opening his hips to come out of his breaks cleanly. He has good short area explosiveness, maintaining balance and body control throughout his running stride.
With his ability to take on the lead blocker and plug the rush lanes, Wilson has proven to be a great fit in the middle. He keeps his pads low and drives hard with his shoulders, possessing the functional strength to face up to single blocks. He avoids blocks well on the move, but needs to show better stop-and-go action to get back into the play when he over-pursues. He is a good downhill player with the range to make plays along the sidelines.
The senior has fluid turning action coming out of his breaks and is effective at cutting off the outside run. He needs to play in better control working through traffic (will outrun the play at times), but stays on his feet and shows good balance. He hits with a thud and is an effective wrap-up tackler. He squares up and breaks down well, showing good form tackling in-line or when operating in space.
Wilson is more of an explosive hitter than strong but generates the pop needed to take down running backs. The thing you see on film is his ability to bring his arms and feet to fit and secure. He hits with good purpose and has good natural knee bend to drive the opponent back and clog the rush lanes.
As a middle linebacker, Wilson showed good ability to come off blocks cleanly and redirect to make the play working in-line. He has good explosiveness taking on the ball carrier through the holes and keeps his balance when he extends his hands to defeat cut blocks. He also demonstrates awareness to hidden blockers when chasing ball carriers along the perimeter.
The Bulldog has the speed to reach and make the cut off, showing good balance to shut down the cutback lanes. He is still more of a hit-&-run type working towards the outside running plays, as he has the chase acceleration and takes proper angles to close. He has great ease of movement flowing to the ball from sideline-to-sideline and does not need to gather, maintaining acceleration when trying to redirect.
Wilson has shown that he can be slippery enough to get through traffic and can play the trail and adjust to the quick cuts by tight ends in man coverage. He has a good feel for the pass, getting to the flats with good urgency and gets a good jump on the ball working in the zone. He uses his lateral agility to bull rush into the backfield, where he is an explosive hitter who wraps well and comes under with good control when playing in space.
Wilson will jolt an opponent on contact and plays with good leverage when attempting to blitz, as he is quick to locate the running lane to close on the quarterback. He makes every effort to collapse the pocket, but must keep his hands active to prevent from getting stacked on his inside charge. He has good speed for man coverage (just lacks a feel for where he should position himself). He seems to be smooth in his backpedal and has good plant-&-drive agility to mirror backs and tight ends in the short area.
Wilson has the range to make plays away from his area and is very good at sifting through traffic. He will get walled off by the larger blockers when he fails to keep his hands inside his frame and some scouts are concerned that at 237 pounds, he might lacks ideal bulk to control or split double teams. While he has the speed to cover deep, he is a bit of a liability in this area, as he looks slow to see the routes develop when working in the zone.
Perhaps due to a lack of reps in pass coverage during his first three years in a 3-4 alignment, Wilson seemed to be eyeballing the quarterback too long and did not anticipate the deep pass in 2014, struggling to get his head turned quick enough to track the ball in flight. He also does not have the natural hands needed to snatch the interception.
What makes him a likely third round draft selection is Wilson’s ability to sift through traffic and flow to the ball with suddenness. He has valid run defense instincts and keeps the plays in front of him, but does struggle recognizing the pass plays. He has the speed to make plays along the sidelines and is an effective wrap-up tackler who does a nice job of taking the ball carrier down by attacking the runner’s outside leg. He needs to add bulk to defeat double teams better at the next level, but with his aggressiveness and willingness to learn, he will soon become a linebacker coach’s dream.
Ramik Wilson Scouting Combine measurables
6-2/237 (4.77 forty)
33-inch arm length
10 5/8inch hands
35-inch vertical jump
111-inch broad jump
4.51 20 yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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