For Raiders' fourth round pick, Tyler Wilson, he has plenty of reason to believe he should have gone higher in the draft. He said as much today following the Raiders making him the 112 pick in the fourth round of the draft.
"I think it being such a different year in the draft, that I did expect to go a little bit earlier." Said Wilson.
Wilson was chosen 11 spots behind USC quarterback, Matt Barkley. What both players have in common is they were both considered first round products in 2012. The problem with coming out in that draft is being behind the likes of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. They both opted to return for their senior seasons and both struggled to maintain their previous draft status.
The 2013 season was a nightmare for Wilson and none of it was anything in his control. His head coach and quarterbacks coach, Bobby Petrino was fired under controversy of an extramarital affair just before the season and left Wilson and the coaching staff rudderless.
"You know, it was tough," Wilson said of his senior season. "It was a difficult situation. Obviously we were No. 5 in the country, a top five team in my junior season after a great year, went to the Cotton Bowl and you kind of go through a number of things, that test your character, test a lot about you as a football player, and I really love this game and I think that I'm going to be a better player because of it. You learn a lot during those kinds of years."
With Petrino gone, it affected all aspects of the offense. Wilson's interceptions ballooned to 13 and his touchdowns dropped from 24 as a junior to 21 as a senior. Along his development as a quarterback being stunted, the offensive line was porous. They couldn't get the run game going and Wilson was under almost constant pressure, resulting in a concussion that knocked him out (so to speak) of the Razorbacks 52-0 loss to Alabama.
"I think, one, it goes back to playing in a tough conference," said Wilson. "And we had to throw the ball in order to be successful. During the two seasons that I was there, we kind of struggled running the football. So there were a lot of teams that were pinning their ears back and trying to pressure us a lot. Unfortunately, it was that type of a situation where a lot of times you had to sit in there and rip it, because of the situation we were in at Arkansas. As a quarterback you're gonna have to take some shots and compete to give us a chance to win. I knew that. Fortunately, and unfortunately, I was able to take a hit. I think that's part of my game a little bit."
It's hard not to have regrets in a situation like this. If he had come out last year, he may have been behind Luck and RGIII but he probably wouldn't have fallen far.
"After things pan out you kind of look back and say, `Well, that wasn't certainly business-wise maybe the smarter thing' but I'm always, the way I approach it, I know everybody else looks at and probably questions my judgment, but my thought is I wanted to be the most ready, prepared football player that I could be and I thought the only way I could do that would be to go back to school for my senior season, and I think, regardless of what happened, and where you go in the draft, I think I'm a more prepared football player by staying in school. In that regard, I'm extremely happy that I've got an opportunity, and still have an opportunity to stay in the NFL."
The Raiders are reported as having been interested in Matt Barkley first but when the Eagles traded up and took him, they traded down where they thought Wilson would still be available. The hope being that they could get a steal with one of these two former first round graded QB's.
Either way, they got a guy who is hungry to prove he should not be judged by his senior season and should have been drafted much higher.