2019 Cardinals Draft Profile
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- 2019 Cardinals Draft Profile: DL Christian Wilkins
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Mid-Late First Round
Wilkins is more than just a talented player. The defensive lineman graduated with a degree in communication in just two and a half years. Coming out of high school in Connecticut, Wilkins was ranked in the top 50 nationally by every scouting website. Wilkins played all four years at Clemson and was named an All-American by the Associated Press three seasons in a row. A three-time All-ACC player, Wilkins is best known for his celebration after the 2017 national title victory against Alabama.
Wilkins has the ability to play in either a 4-3 or a 3-4 alignment. He is most dangerous inside as a pass rusher. Whether playing the three or five technique, Wilkins is a difference maker when he is on the field. He has the skill set to play all three downs. With newly hired Vance Joseph as defensive coordinator, Wilkins could play end in base alignment, then kick inside during pass rushing situations. As a rookie, Wilkins can come in and win one on one battles in the pass rush. Adding Wilkins would only add to the depth along the defensive line and put pressure on Robert Nkemdiche for playing time. Wilkins provides an immediate upgrade for the Cardinals and would be a steal if available in the early second or late first round.
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Wilkins does not stop. His high motor is the first thing you see each game. He backs it up with quick feet and great anticipation off the snap. His first step allows him to get quick penetration. Wilkins has strong hands and does well to get them on blockers quickly and gets the extension in his arms. It allows him to stack blockers and combat double teams. Excellent short area quickness allows him to knife into the backfield and close on ball carriers. Solid bull rush with an even better rip move. He drops his hips well when using the rip which allows for maximum quickness. Tremendous footwork allows for quick recovery and direction change. Does an excellent job of disengaging from blocker to make tackles. Very good technique and demonstrates an understanding of maintaining gap integrity against the run.
Does not have the prototypical strength most teams look for in a defensive tackle. He will need to get stronger to beat the better interior lineman in the league. While exceptionally athletic, he does not have elite speed coming off the edge. Does not have the length NFL teams look for.