Isaiah Wilson arrived in East Rutherford on September 30th with a lofty draft stature, yet minimal expectations. Well-documented off-field trouble and lack of on-field commitment had quickly derailed a once-promising career for the 2020 first-rounder. Now, at just 22 years old, the Brooklyn native is looking to re-establish his footing in the NFL. The good news, after quickly fizzling out in both Tennessee and Miami, Wilson looks to have bought in with the Giants.
Currently manning one of New York’s 17 practice squad slots, the Georgia product has kept his head down, stayed out of the news cycle and continued to progress. Wilson’s efforts have the Giants and his fellow Bulldogs alumn, Andrew Thomas, encouraged by what they’ve seen from the former Second-team All-SEC selection.
“I think Isaiah definitely has his head on straight,” Thomas told Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News. “He’s trying to learn. He’s trying to get the playbook. We’ve sat down and had a couple talks because a lot of our scheme at Georgia was pretty similar. So just translating the terms was the biggest thing for him, and he’s learning pretty well.”
Not only is Wilson trying the get a grip on a new playbook, but Thomas also revealed that Wilson is in the process of learning a new position. Drafted as a right tackle, the Giants are currently in the process of transitioning Wilson inside to the guard position.
“Moving him inside, playing a little bit more guard, he played tackle in college, so we’ll see how he does with that,” said Thomas.
Wilson Transitioning to Guard
Getting a look at Wilson at guard isn’t all that far-fetched. Many scouts have long believed that playing inside would prove to be the best spot for Wilson in the pros, allowing the 6-foot-7-inch, 330-pounder to better take advantage of his massive frame and delegate some of his spotty footwork and tight hips while playing on the edge.
It also makes sense from the pure makeup of New York’s current offensive line. Shane Lemieux, the team’s projected starting left guard heading into the year, has missed the entirety of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon. Putting aside the fact that Lemieux’s gritty playstyle overshadowed some murky performances in his rookie campaign, Lemieux could easily — alongside Billy Price — factor into the center position moving forward with Nick Gates’ future up in the air.
At right guard, Will Hernandez has put together a rather solid season but will be a free agent this offseason. Chances are, the Giants will have their work cut out for them if they hope to retain him. Still just 26 years old and a second-round pedigree to boast, it’s easy to see an offensive-line needy team overpaying for Hernandez’s services.
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Joe Judge: Giants Have ‘Long-Term Plans’ for Wilson
Wilson undoubtedly remains a developmental product. There’s a strong possibility he doesn’t see the field for the Giants until 2023 — if ever. With that said, head coach Joe Judge didn’t rule out the possibility that Wilson could have his number called upon in the near future.
“I think we have long-term plans for this guy in terms of where we see this guy being able to help in the future. However, in terms of this year, he’s made a lot of progress and if the situation arises and the opportunity comes up, we’re getting him ready to go ahead and help us,” Judge said of Wilson.
Wilson still has a long way to go, but as of now, things appear to be rather optimistic regarding a player who could theoretically factor into Big Blue’s long-term plans along their offensive line.