NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Georgia offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson, the Tennessee Titans’ first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, is clearly a fit for the team’s scheme.
The 6-6, 350-pound lineman is a mauler with plenty of experience at right tackle, perfect for the Titans’ run-first offense.
“I think the best part of my game right now is that I’m physical and I enjoy beating people up,” Wilson said shortly after he was picked by the Titans. “I enjoy running the ball, and I enjoy, essentially, trying to break another man’s will.”
It’s unclear, though, whether Wilson will make the Titans a better football team. That’s the fundamental question that will define the value of this pick for the organization moving forward.
Wilson a good player, but he may not move the needle a whole lot in terms of the Titans’ ability to take down the NFL’s top-tier competition.
Here’s my take on Isaiah Wilson: I think he’s a good player and a fit with the #Titans. But does he make them a better football team?
— Luke Worsham (@luke_worsham) April 24, 2020
General manager Jon Robinson, for one, does believe that Wilson will make the Titans a better football team.
“I think he’s definitely going to make us a better football team,” Robinson said. “We try to get as many good football players at every position as possible, and he’s a guy that fits that mold.
“We’re excited to work with him and know that he’s going to help our football team.”
There’s a chance, though, that Wilson won’t give the Titans that help until the 2021 season, or even the 2022 season.
Just a month ago, the Titans signed tackle Dennis Kelly to a three-year contract extension, seemingly entrenching the veteran as the team’s starter at right tackle in 2020.
And, if Wilson doesn’t beat out Kelly in what will likely be an open competition in Training Camp, Kelly will indeed be the starter come Week One.
Beating Kelly will be a tough ask of Wilson, even though the Titans have proven time and time again that they don’t see Kelly as a viable long-term starter.
Despite his immense physical gifts and rich SEC experience, Wilson is still raw and needs to develop his technique, particularly in the passing game.
“I understand that I can improve on my technique,” Wilson said.
“The best is ahead of me, for sure, just based on how much I know I can work to get better.”
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) April 24, 2020
After coming up just short in the AFC Championship in January and losing a handful of talented players to free agency, the Titans needed to use this draft—their first-round pick, in particular—to become more competitive for the 2020 season.
At this point, it’s unclear whether Wilson will help the Titans do that.
Who knows, though? Maybe Kelly isn’t anything more than a backup and Wilson becomes the Titans’ saving grace. Maybe Wilson will develop quickly and be a viable starter for the Titans for the next five years.
If Wilson does become a reliable tackle who creates big holes for RB Derrick Henry and keeps QB Ryan Tannehill upright, then the Titans will be proven to have made the right choice.
For now, due to Wilson’s rawness and Kelly’s presence in the o-line room, that’s a big if.
Cover image: Kim Klement & Trevor Ruszkowski / USA Today