Cardinals Rookie CB Picks Off Kyler Murray During Training Camp

Getty Gators CB Marco Wilson trying to bat down football on October 05, 2019.

The Arizona Cardinals think fourth-round pick rookie cornerback Marco Wilson will be the steal of their 2021 draft class.

What better way to start than to intercept Kyler Murray in the first padded practice of camp?

There’s a lot of reasons to like Wilson and while he might not find playing time early on, he’s certainly in the mix for the future.

Coach Kingsbury and GM Keim Rave About Wilson

The Cardinals traded up 24 spots in the fourth-round to get the Florida Gator in the 2021 draft. The last time the Cards traded up for a defensive back, it was for Budda Baker. That turned out well.

Athleticism is Wilson’s greatest trait while also having a terrific 43.5 inch vertical at his pro day. The athleticism on top of a 4.35-second 40-yard dash can make a coach giddy.

“His athleticism, his workout, what we think of him as a staff and as a personnel department, he’s a big-time talent to get where we got him,” Kingsbury said back in May.

To trade up and give up assets and still think the player is a steal means a lot. The Cards didn’t have a fourth-round pick, so they handed the Baltimore Ravens their fifth-round pick and a 2022 fourth-round pick in exchange for the 136th pick and also pick No. 210, a sixth-rounder.

“When you look at the big picture, the guy has got such a high ceiling and yet has a pretty high floor as well,” said GM Steve Keim. “I think he’s going to be a really good player, and for him to fail with those athletic traits and his passion for the game, I think when you look at the risk to reward, I think it’s pretty high.”

Wilson’s Tenure with Florida

No matter what, Wilson’s collegiate career will mostly be remembered for an unsportsmanlike penalty when he threw a shoe, which cost the Florida Gators the game.

VideoVideo related to cardinals rookie cb picks off kyler murray during training camp2021-08-04T12:13:44-04:00

“Silly mistakes like that can affect not only just you but a lot of people around you,” Wilson said. “You’ve got to stay away from doing things like that.”

2020 was also Wilson’s poorest season with the Gators. According to Pro Football Focus, he had a coverage grade of 54.3. In his freshman season, Wilson earned a 74.2 grade. That’s a key reason why Wilson fell to the fourth-round.

The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid has this to say about Wilson:

“Wilson shows closing speed and is able to close out plays when opportunities are presented as both a blitzer and run defender. He’s a prospect with lots of tools at the position, but waiting for someone to take them off of the shelf and help him utilize them on a consistent basis.”

That closing speed Reid mentioned is shown on this INT in 2019.

Wilson is one of four true freshmen to start at CB on opening day in Florida’s history, joining Joe Haden (2007), Janoris Jenkins (2008 and Marcus Roberson (2011). That shows you there’s promise in the rookie.

Marco Understands His Role

Arizona could use long-term solutions at cornerback, with projected starters Malcolm Butler and Robert Alford on one-year contracts.

But for the time being, Wilson on the Red Sea Report mentioned he might have to focus on special teams for the short term.

“I focus on special teams a lot,” said Wilson. “There’s a lot of guys who don’t get many reps on offense or defense and they play many years in the NFL. That’s a great opportunity to get the experience of playing football and doing what you love.”

Tay Growan, another rookie CB, was seen giving the extra effort after practice together with Wilson.

The still-young 23-year-old CB Byron Murphy has also taken Wilson under his wing.

“I’ve really leaned on and taken the time to learn from Byron Murphy,” Wilson told Cards Wire. “He’s taken me under his wing and has been very helpful with my transition to the league so far. I’m thankful to call him a friend.”

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