But to take advantage of his overwhelming physicality, Joe Philbin and Kevin Coyle have permanently shifted Wilson inside to safety.
Wilson joined The Finsiders to talk about the position switch and his on-field development during his first true NFL offseason.
The demands may be different, but Wilson said that one position isn’t more difficult than the other.
“It’s a totally different position,” Wilson said. “Corner, you get a lot of action just because you’re out on an island and they’re going to try you. At safety, you’ve got to really read the quarterback’s shoulders and try to get a hint off of what he’s doing and really know the quarterback. If you jump a couple of steps the wrong way, that ball is getting caught over the top.”
With Chris Clemons nursing a leg injury earlier this week, Wilson had an opportunity to run with the first-team defense. Whether he starts or not, the second-year defensive back looks like he’ll be a key part of the rotation, especially with the the amount of nickel and dime that may find its way into Coyle’s scheme.
With what’s perhaps a smaller margin for error–Coyle worked exclusively with defensive backs in Cincinnati–the secondary has been working to improve its consistency.
“We told ourselves we can’t have what happened last year, as far as communication breakdowns, balls over the top happening,” Wilson said. “Regardless of what going on, whether we’re running the wrong play or not, as long as the DB’s on the back end are on the same page, usually a big play won’t happen.
“We’ve been communicating a lot more. Like I said, that just comes with more time.”
When Wilson was transitioning to the NFL last year he had to deal with the lockout-induced ban on two-way communication. Even if he wanted to try to stay ahead of the learning curve, he couldn’t ask his new coaches for help. It was a less-than-ideal situation, to say the least.
But a year of pro experience has him approaching the game much differently this summer.
“I’ve done a lot of growing,” Wilson said, “as far as knowing how to coach myself by watching my own film and being better prepared for what’s coming the next day.”
At this point, the Dolphins defensive backs may be able to give the best scouting report on the wide receivers fighting for a spot on the 53-man roster. They get a first-hand look at the fringe players who must flash during practice to survive in what may turn out being the tightest position battle on the roster.
Those trying to handicap the race have singled out guys like Julius Pruitt and Jeff Fuller, both of whom have made a handful of catches during the first week of training camp.
Wilson said, though, that it’s been Chris Hogan, a Dolphins practice-squad member last season, that has been giving him fits in practice.
“That kid is sneaky fast,” Wilson said. “Even when he came in last year, he was out there playing DB, receiver. The guy is just such a hard worker. He’s one of those guys—he doesn’t come out looking to clean us or nothing like that, but he’s going to get the job done.”
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.