Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
Christain Wilkins’s best fit is as a three technique defensive lineman. He played the 4-3 defensive end position, but his size is too big for that position. Wilkins has an excellent bull rush and will command double teams. I am impressed with his upper body strength. He can push the pocket back regularly and that will help him when playing on the inside. He is quick and athletic for his size that should give him an advantage against guards. One thing you have to like is that he can set the edge, but most teams just did not run to his side. I also think it was interesting he was asked to drop into coverage for a guy his size.
The main technique issue I see in Wilkin’s game is that he plays too upright. He relies on his upper body strength to push the pocket. He needs to get lower and use his lower half to progress in his play strength. His size is too big for the edge. He needs to work on his bend and his flexibility if he is going to be a good edge player.
I think he will have much more success if they use him on the inside. I would say his best fit is as 3-4 defensive end. However, 4-3 teams are looking for athletic defensive tackles that can rush from the inside. I wouldn’t put him in the same class as Jonathan Allen or Solomon Thomas, but he can play a role similar to them. I think he is a late first round pick. He is often mocked as the top interior defensive lineman, but that is not a position that is as highly valued as an edge rusher. I caution teams who want to keep him as an edge rusher.
Previous NFL Draft Profiles:
- Sam Darnold (QB/USC)
- Josh Allen (QB/Wyoming)
- Saquon Barkley (RB/Penn State)
- Derrius Guice (RB/LSU)
- Derwin James (S/Florida State)
- Mason Rudolph (QB/Oklahoma State)
- Luke Falk (QB/Washington State)
- Lamar Jackson (QB/Louisville)
- Minkah Fitzpatrick (CB/Alabama)