Isaiah Wilson has been released from two teams in less than one professional season. For many players, this would be the end of the line, but for a player with great physical gifts, there is a team that may be willing to give him a shot to redeem himself.
One of my favorite movies growing up was A Bronx Tale, directed by Robert De Niro, who also played the main character. The most famous quote from the 1993 mob classic was a line De Niro’s character said to his coming of age son, “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent”. This is true in all aspects of life, and even more so in the sports world. So many times young athletes have had all the tools, all the athletic ability in the world, and for one reason or another not been able to live up to expectations.
This fits Isaiah Wilson perfectly right now, as the former first-round draft pick was released by the Miami Dolphins this week, only a short time after being traded by the Tennessee Titans.
In a five-month span, Wilson has been arrested twice. The first time in September of 2020 for a DUI, and in January of 2021 for a police chase in which he was in possession of marijuana. He played just four snaps in 2020 for the Titans and was promptly traded for a 7th round pick to the Dolphins. After details of his January arrest were made public and it was reported he did not show up to his physical, the Dolphins released him. As of right now, his NFL career is over. That is unless some team, any team were to take a shot on him.
Wilson has many things to work through before he is ready to set foot back on a football field, and only time will tell if continuing to pursue a career in pro football is something he can do. If he wants to come back in a year or so, and if his mind is clear enough to be able to play the game and stay out of trouble then I think a team that would be willing to take a shot on him would be the Kansas City Chiefs.
I know much of Chiefs Kingdom won’t want to take a shot on Wilson, but we have seen time and time before the Chiefs use their team culture and family atmosphere to help players overcome troubled pasts and help the team win football games. Wilson has talent, and we haven’t seen it yet in an NFL game, but there are very few people on Earth who have the size, strength, and power possessed by Wilson.
He will carry the first-round bust label around with him, but in all honesty, the Titans over-drafted him in the first place. In my own personal evaluations of Wilson, I had him as a fourth-round pick.
Pros: Physically dominates defenders in the run game. Uses his body to create huge amounts of movement on double teams. When he gets up to backers or smaller players. Coming out after only 3 years so he will be a good player to continue to develop.
Cons: Can bend at the waist and is a little tight in the hips and ankles in pass protection. Lacks the punch a premiere caliber tackle has, and projects to only be able to play the right side. Needs to continue to work overall technique, especially footwork and balance.
Projection: Fourth round
I went back and watched some more of his film from Georgia, and the more I have looked at it the more his ability seems to match what the Chiefs look for in guards in their offense. A year away from the game with his body type will also not help his development at tackle, but if he can maintain his strength, a move to guard seems like an option.
The Chiefs will always be looking for the best possible players to protect Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and I think that it is important to leave no stone unturned when looking for protection. Wilson could come in and be a cheap option with a very high ceiling at some point.
Now again, if Wilson wants to come back it is going to be up to him to prove to himself, and a team that he is serious about the game and ready to be a professional. During his time in Kansas City, Andy Reid has had a history of helping players with troubled pasts overcome their prior lifestyle, and become the best version of their selves. The team is loaded with high character individuals who could help mentor Wilson. In the offensive line room, the team will have recently signed guard Joe Thuney, and coach Andy Heck to help him in his progress as a player.
It is up to Isaiah Wilson whether he wants to continue to waste his talent, or if he wants to become who many people think he can be. The kid from Brooklyn New York has a long way to go, as a player, and also a person. The Kansas City Chiefs can help with both aspects. If he can first prove to himself that he is serious about the game and is ready to change his life, then I think the Chiefs should be serious about giving him one final chance to play the game.