Matt Waldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio examines the highs and lows of 2018 NFL Draft Prospect, WR Cedrick Wilson of Boise State.
Route running against press coverage is like playing at the Apollo Theatre. Keep reading and what I mean will become clear.
Another lifetime ago when I was performing and studying music a certain college that dominated the football landscape —and was the bane of (self-proclaimed) wholesome, Mid-Western Catholic fans — I overheard a conversation among students about a teacher and performer at our school.
“He’s a good teacher, but have you ever heard him play?”
“No, but I’ve wanted to. Does he burn?”
“No man, it’s disappointing. I mean, he’s technically strong and has great note choices and knowledge of harmony — all the things you’d expect — but something is missing with his feel.”
“What do you mean?”
“When he solos, he sounds like he’s figuring out a harmonic math problem instead of telling a musical story.”
Football and improvisational music share a lot of similarities. You need physical skill, technique, timing, and knowledge of what’s happening around you and how to interact with it. That last requirement is as much emotional as it is intellectual.
Wide receiver routes are a good example. A player can have speed, quickness, hand-eye coordination, timing, and knowledge of the defense. However, none of it matters if they can’t put it all together and tell compelling stories that force opponents to suspend disbelief.
Selling the story requires feel. When I watch Cedrick Wilson, I see a player who is lacking feel within the first 5-7 yards of the line of scrimmage — the area where the best receivers establish control of the route against a hostile audience.
Much a failing performer on talent night at the Apollo.
This extended film room episode examines the best and worst of Wilson’s game. There’s a lot like but if he wants to become an every-down contributor, he’ll have to learn to sell the emotion in his routes. Otherwise, those press-man corners will make the audiences at the Apollo look docile.
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