Michael Wilson, WR, Stanford | NFL Draft Scouting Report

After standing out at the Senior Bowl, Stanford WR Michael Wilson is rising up the 2023 NFL Draft board with his scouting report. Here's how he projects.

Stanford WR Michael Wilson was a standout performer at the 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl. And that performance shed light on what kind of value his 2023 NFL Draft scouting report could provide to an NFL team. Where does Wilson rank in the 2023 class, and how does he project to the next level?

Michael Wilson NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • School: Stanford
  • Current Year: Redshirt Senior
  • Height/Weight: 6’1 5/8″, 216 pounds
  • Length: 31″
  • Wingspan: 74″
  • Hand: 9 7/8″

Wilson will be one of the most fascinating evaluations in the 2023 NFL Draft cycle. It’s a true test of traits. Wilson’s background provides both reason for excitement and concern, but there’s no denying the ability he showed at the Senior Bowl in one-on-ones.

Wilson looked like a top prospect at his best in Mobile, so it comes as no surprise that he was a four-star recruit and a top-250 talent in the 2018 class. And on top of the visible talent, he was a consistent top academic performer and a team captain in his final season.

But with the pros, there are also the cons. Wilson suffered a season-ending foot injury in 2020 and another season-ending injury in 2022. He hasn’t played a full season since 2019, when he put up 56 catches for 672 yards and five touchdowns.

Wilson will win over teams with his talent and character. But how is the value equation impacted by the risk of decreased durability? And just how dynamic can Wilson’s brand of talent be in the NFL? That’s what we’re here to discuss.

Michael Wilson Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Strong, well-built receiver with excellent mass and carries that mass extremely well.
  • Has great quickness and short-area mobility for his size and can easily offset DBs.
  • Sudden, high-energy route runner with throttle freedom, terse hip sink, and rapid feet.
  • Has shown he can accelerate into stems, eat up cushion, and use length to wall off DBs.
  • Flashes devastatingly efficient footwork and tempo, stacking cuts to reroute defenders.
  • Boasts high-level ball tracking, body control, and coordination in contested situations.
  • Can reach beyond his frame and snare high passes with impressive consistency.
  • Has enough length to outreach DBs and can extend beyond his frame to secure passes.
  • Possesses enough long-track explosiveness to stretch seams when opening his strides.
  • Very tenacious, physical blocker who squares up and fully extends when engaging.

Areas for Improvement

  • Proportional length for his size is below average and slightly caps his catch radius.
  • Doesn’t have great explosiveness or top-end speed and can’t always stack DBs.
  • Lack of high-end explosiveness sometimes prevents him from sustaining separation.
  • Doesn’t always effectively use size and physicality in close quarters to compound space.
  • Quickness can cause wasted motion, and plant-and-drive footwork can be cleaner.
  • Can expand his release package and more effectively use length to pry through press.
  • Can be prone to body catches and focus drops in the short range.
  • Upright runner whose contact balance isn’t as consistent as his density would imply.
  • Injury history is extensive and could call into question his projected durability.

Stanford WR Michael Wilson Current Draft Projection

Wilson grades out as a priority Day 3 prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft, who could potentially sneak into the top 100. He’s an intriguing depth piece in a layered WR class, with the size, separation ability, and catching instincts to provide value early in the NFL.

Medicals will be big for Wilson, who has two season-ending injuries on his record from 2020 and 2022. Those medicals could be the difference between Day 2 capital and mid-to-late Day 3 capital. But wherever he comes off the board, Wilson’s traits pique interest.

The Stanford WR isn’t quite as fast or explosive as his billing would indicate — injuries may have sapped away at his burst — but he does have enough speed and burst for his size to utilize space effectively. There’s still room for him to further refine his route running, but the want-to, attention to detail, and short-area athleticism are there.

Wilson has great foot speed and hip sink for his size, and with his suddenness, he can offset defenders quickly off the line. He then has the high-end catching instincts and coordination to convert at the catch point and does so with impressive consistency.

Without elite explosiveness and dynamic athleticism, Wilson may never be an impact starter. And while he has RAC upside with his frame, his contact balance sometimes underwhelms. Nevertheless, he has the dual-sided separation and conversion ability and the alignment versatility to be a valuable movement Z receiver in a WR rotation.

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