Breaking Down Cowboys’ 2012 Draft: Kyle Wilber, OLB, Wake Forest
I gave the Cowboys’ selection of Tyrone Crawford a C+ grade because he has a lot of upside, but I don’t see him making an immediate impact in Dallas. Due to his position, the same is probably true of Kyle Wilber.
At 6’4”, 249 pounds, Wilber has good length but is a little on the small side to play as the SAM linebacker in Dallas’ 3-4 defense. I really don’t mind undersized players, but I’m afraid Wilber might lose some of his quickness if he’s forced to gain weight. As I see it right now, he has just average explosiveness and a good, but not great, first step.
Wilber was asked to play far too much coverage at Wake Forest. He’s a stiff-hipped player who will eventually get beat if he’s in space too much. He does a surprisingly nice job of breaking down in the open-field to tackle, but he’s not a turn-and-run type of player.
Against the run, Wilber is very instinctive. He diagnoses plays very well and reacts quickly. Plus, he’s got an awesome motor. He won’t necessarily hold up blockers at the point of attack, but he can make plays running across the field. Wilber also does a nice job shedding blockers, due in large part to his length. All in all, he’s a really sure tackler.
Still, I’m worried about Wilber as a pass rusher. He reminds me a whole lot of Anthony Spencer, and with Spencer perhaps leaving after 2012, maybe that’s why the Cowboys drafted him. Wilber doesn’t possess the sort of quick-twitch ability you see in rushers who can consistently threaten the edge, however, and it isn’t like he’s going to get much leaner and faster.
Wilber probably won’t have too much of an impact in 2012. He’ll compete with Victor Butler for snaps behind Spencer and DeMarcus Ware. I’d have to think Butler is a better pass-rusher at this point, so I’m not sure we’ll see Wilber much on nickel downs unless he really impresses in camp.
Wilber has some upside in that I don’t think he was utilized correctly in college. Maybe he has the ability to become a dominant rusher and simply wasn’t given that opportunity at Wake. I don’t think he has the first step to become a Pro Bowl player, but there’s no reason to think it’s impossible Wilber starts for Dallas in 2013.
Pick Grade: C