Browns Prospect Profile: Howard Wilson

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Pick: Round 4, Pick 126
Position: Cornerback
School: Houston
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 184 lbs.

The Browns’ cornerback position is in need of some dire help. In 2016, the defense let up a 101.8 opposing passer rating (31st in the NFL) and ranked dead last in passing touchdowns allowed with 36.

Wilson comes to the Browns with less than ideal experience at the college level but can provide much-needed depth to the secondary in the coming season.

The former Houston Cougar is coming off a redshirt sophomore season that boosted his draft stock immensely, notching career highs in tackles, tackles for loss and interceptions. The career year represents a bounce-back from his true sophomore campaign in which he played just three games and was sidelined by an ACL tear.

What Wilson showcased in his final year at Houston is what makes him an exciting prospect; he has the ability to cause turnovers at a high rate. The DeSoto, Texas native tallied nine interceptions in his time as a Cougar despite playing just one season as a full-time starter.

“[Wilson is a] smooth athlete with excellent length who has a long history of making plays on the football,” writes Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. “[He] averaged an interception (nine total) every 15 targets despite just one season as a full-time starter.”

Wilson, like many of the Browns’ draft picks this year, also brings a healthy dose of athleticism to the table. The 21-year-old placed in a tie for third in the three-cone drill (6.68 seconds) and second overall in the 20-yard-shuttle (3.94 seconds) at this year’s combine. His success in these drills suggests he has great stop-and-go speed; however, his performance in the 40-yard-dash (4.57 seconds) show that he could still pack on some pure speed.

Wilson fits in with a slew of players in this Browns’ draft class that possess noticeable potential but lack experience or polishing as they head into their rookie seasons.

Wilson was able to matchup against some solid talent in his final year at Houston, but that was, unfortunately, his only season as a full-time starter. In addition to his lack of experience as a starter, the torn ACL in 2015 should also raise a few caution flags.

As he makes the transition to the NFL stage, he will likely require some time to adjust to the drastic spike in competition as well as to pack on some muscle to improve his 184-pound frame.

“With just 10 reps on the bench press and his poor play power showing on film, Wilson will have to fill out his skinny frame to better handle NFL size,” noted Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller.

The Browns possess a relatively weak fleet of cornerbacks, which will open the door for a player like Wilson to get some early playing time this season. The fourth round pick is still young and has the potential of an NFL starter, but he is still likely a couple seasons away from significantly impacting the Browns defense.

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