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NFL Draft Sleepers - Cedrick Wilson


As we move closer to the NFL Combine and the draft, prospects will be propped up and critiqued to determine their potential value in the NFL.

In a class that features multiple former junior college players, Cedrick Wilson is going under the radar while others like Michael Gallup and Jaleel Scott grab the headlines. The only difference is that Wilson was second in the FBS in receiving yards behind only James Washington and Wilson is a the JUCO athlete that remaining as an undervalued sleeper for dynasty leagues.

Wilson, who is the son of former NFL receiver, Cedrick Wilson, may have been underappreciated as an athletic high school player, but his path would eventually lead him to becoming one of the most prolific receivers in college football as a member of the Boise State team.

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From Tennessee to Boise

As a duel-threat QB prospect in Tennessee, Wilson went largely unnoticed to major college programs despite playing at a high level. During the 2013 season, he led his team to the 6A state semifinals and was named to the Tennessee Sports Writers Association 6A All-State team. But despite all of that, Wilson went unrecruited and was left without any meaningful offers from FBS programs which led to him joining Coffeyville Community College.

At Coffeyvile Community College, accumulated 1674 yards and 27 touchdowns in two seasons.  His 2015 season finished with over 1000 yards and 17 touchdowns while playing alongside future Memphis Tiger QB, Riley Ferguson.  His receiving totals represented a 28.2 percent share of yards and 38.6 percent of the total passing TDs. He finished his two seasons with 24 percent market share of receiving yards and 31.7 percent share of TDs.

Cedrick Wilson REC YDs TDs MS Yards MS TDs DOM
2014 54 629 10 0.19 0.24 0.22
2015 66 1045 17 0.28 0.39 0.33
Coffeyville CC Career 120 1674 27 0.24 0.32 0.28

Wilson was named an All-American by the NJCAA in 2015 after averaging 116 yards per game and totaling the second most receiving yards in school history.  After this season, Wilson was rated a three-star JUCO prospect and received multiple offers to attend FBS schools for the remainder of his college career. At one point, he had committed to joining Arkansas State, but he eventually decommitted and joined Boise State for the 2016 season.

Boise State

Wilson chose to join the Broncos over schools such as Virginia Tech, South Alabama, Middle Tennessee State, and Arkansas State, and it didn't take long for Boise State fans to appreciate his decision. He made an immediate impact to the team in 2016 and followed it up with one of the best receiving seasons in college football in 2017.

Cedrick Wilson REC YDs TDs MS Yards MS TDs DOM
2016 56 1129 11 0.29 0.39 0.34
2017 83 1511 7 0.41 0.27 0.34
Boise St Career 139 2640 18 0.35 0.33 0.34

In 2016, Boise State finished 10-3 and Wilson amassed over 1000 yards and 11 TDs. His 1129 yards represented 29 percent of his team's passing yards and he was responsible for 39 percent of their TDs as well. He posted five games over 100 receiving yards and had two games with multiple TDs. In addition to his receiving contributions, Wilson returned 13 kickoffs for an average of 21.3 yards per kick and he returned 10 punts for a 13.2 yard average.

In 2017, Boise State finished 11-3 while Wilson finished with 1511 yards, second in the FBS. Despite increasing his yardage by nearly 400 yards, he only managed to match his 2016 dominator rating due to a substantial drop in TDs. It was Wilson's first college season with less than ten touchdowns.  Wilson continued returning kickoffs for a 25.8 yard average. Despite the dropoff in TDsduring his final year, it's hard to imagine that Wilson could have produced more in his two year stint with Boise State.

NFL Prospects

Currently, Wilson is ranked as the 20th WR by NFLDraftScout and is projected to be drafted early on Day three.  Wilson is an average-aged prospect at age 22 and his breakout age, no matter how it's determined, is strong. In 2015, Wilson finished with a dominator of 0.33 at age 20, but he played the majority of the season at age 19. And if a junior college breakout is deemed too low of competition, he finished with a 0.34 dominator rating in 2016 at at 21. Both ages, paired with his consistent production should go a long way to nullify any concerns with age.

Cedrick Wilson REC YDs TDs MS Yards MS TDs DOM
2014 (JUCO) 54 629 10 0.19 0.24 0.22
2015 (JUCO) 66 1045 17 0.28 0.39 0.33
2016 56 1129 11 0.29 0.39 0.34
2017 83 1511 7 0.41 0.27 0.34
Career 259 4314 45 0.30 0.32 0.31

Using the Kevin Cole's regression tree referenced in my WR Prospect Previews, Wilson finishes in the final node with a 57 percent historical success rate. While this node typically includes receivers with a higher draft stock and at more prestigious programs, this is a positive sign for Wilson who finished just outside of the elite tier of WR prospects.

Wilson has always taken the longer path to his eventual success and if he's drafted late, he'll likely be forced to prove himself as a capable WR once more in order to earn significant playing time.  But Wilson has been successful at every level of football at this point and there's no real reason to believe that he can't continue to find success.  With respect to fantasy purposes, Wilson projects as a late-fourth round pick is rookie drafts and could be a steal, at that price.

 

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