There was a time last summer when some of us pretended not to sweat the Darrelle Revis holdout as much as we should have because of how the coaching staff was raving about Kyle Wilson.
Revis would eventually return and then the Baltimore game happened…
Wilson was badly exposed in single coverage and began a season long struggle with playing the football in the air and picking up pass interference penalties. He was eventually passed on the depth chart by Drew Coleman and was barely a factor down the stretch, except when an interception slammed off his face mask in the AFC Championship Game.
Wilson also never stepped up in the return game, he struggled enough last year that many people, including Rex Ryan, only mentioned Jerricho Cotchery and Joe McKnight as the likely candidates to replace Jim Leonhard on punt return this year.
Despite writing 100,000 words advising against it, there is still a very real chance Antonio Cromartie won’t return next year, which will lead to the need for Wilson to move into the starting line-up. He didn’t show anything last year to make us believe he is capable of handling that role and the lack of off-season workouts this year can’t be helping.
However, there was a reason Wilson was drafted in the first round. He obviously has talent and perhaps his rookie year provided a valuable lesson on adjusting to the NFL. If the front office decides to let Cromartie leave, Wilson will have one of the most difficult secondary jobs in the league…playing opposite Revis Island, let’s hope he is ready to prove that decision would be correct.
Beyond that, if Cromartie does come back. It would be nice to see Wilson develop into a quality nickel back for now and create a few big plays, similar to the way Drew Coleman did last year.