The Dallas Cowboys got tremendous value out of their nine selections in the 2018 NFL Draft, particularly when waiting to address their needs. Entering the draft with a glaring need at wide receiver, the Cowboys waited until the 81st overall pick to add Colorado State's Michael Gallup. In the sixth round, they doubled up on Boise State players at 208th overall with Cedrick Wilson.
Wilson could prove to be the steal of this Cowboys draft class, racking up 1,511 receiving yards as a Senior at Boise State (a school record) on 83 catches – seven for touchdowns.
Here is my full scouting report on just one of Quarterback Dak Prescott's new weapons for 2018.
Wide Receiver Cedrick Wilson: Strengths
Cedrick Wilson's long speed is his most noticeable trait, a well-balanced athlete that gets on defenders in a hurry given his length (6022) and fluidity. Wilson can separate with ease at the stem of his routes in a variety of ways, playing with smooth acceleration and tight hips through his breaks.
Once Wilson is able to uncover, he presents a reliable target to any QB, consistently snatching the ball away from his frame with strong hands. Wilson is adept at adjusting to the ball in the air, tracking it away from contact and getting up the field in a hurry.
Consistently putting defenders on their heels with the ability to stop on a dime, Wilson is tough to bring down after the catch. This is a player that takes pride in forcing the issue with the ball in his hands, creating YAC opportunities whenever possible – be it lowering the shoulder or bursting into the open field.
Cedrick Wilson's production was excellent at Boise State, and the tape shows a receiver that could have racked up even more yards on underneath routes. Targeted more often as a vertical player, Wilson has no problem dragging across the field with great spacial awareness or even handling jet sweeps as a runner.
Wide Receiver Cedrick Wilson: Weaknesses
Cedrick Wilson started playing wide receiver in college, only facing FBS competition as a Junior and Senior after transferring from a Community College. The high school quarterback is understandably still raw as an athlete on the boundary. This lack of refinement and physicality is something that stands out in Wilson's weaknesses.
Wilson's route running ability is where he leaves the most room for improvement. Playing too fast at times, Wilson is not technically sound getting in and out of breaks. As we've already seen under Dak Prescott, the Cowboys passing game will require Dak to look elsewhere if Wilson can't get to his spots more efficiently.
Getting to the stem of his route can even come with difficulty for Wilson, a player that will lose leverage as an upright runner. This led to struggles against physical cornerbacks and press defenders on the outside from Wilson.
Wide Receiver Cedrick Wilson: Summary
The Dallas Cowboys did something that was thought to be impossible entering this season – turn over their wide receivers at the extreme level they have. Signing Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson prior to releasing Dez Bryant, the real potential for the Cowboys new pass catchers came at the draft.
While I believe the ceiling for third round rookie Michael Gallup is to become the Cowboys top receiver in 2018, Cedrick Wilson is going to have a chance to step in and contribute right away too.
If Dallas can find snaps for Wilson out of the slot, he can be a match up nightmare to stretch the field and warrants more than off coverage from a safety or a linebacker against him.
These same athletic traits and catch radius apply to Wilson as an outside receiver as well. It will be up to Wilson to stand out in training camp and earn his chance to develop into a favorite target of Prescott – something I think Cedrick is built to be for years to come.