by Christian Mott
The 2021 NFL Draft gave BYU fans plenty to talk about as five players were drafted. Typically, smaller schools or non power five schools don’t put in that much talent in a single class. BYU did it by having nearly half its draft class picked in the seventh and final round. There still has been a great amount of NFL caliber players to be picked late in drafts. Regardless of draft positions, these players have the opportunity to try and make an NFL roster. It’s time to look at the newest Tampa Bay Buccaneer out of BYU, Chris Wilcox. Wilcox has a better shot than most players at the DB position to make the final 53.
Chris Wilcox – DB
Drafted: #251 | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chris Wilcox during his time at BYU was one of inconsistency. After two below average years early on, Wilcox was putting together a great junior year until a season-ending injury terminated his season. After a medical redshirt, he returned into the lineup for eight games and played decent overall.
One thing to note about Wilcox is his natural speed. As a track athlete, his speed is elite. He recorded a blazing 4.31 at his pro day. One thing that always helps a player is speed. Speed can’t be taught and is a very important trait that improves Wilcox’s chances to make a roster. Tampa, just coming off their first Super Bowl victory, thought the same when they picked up Wilcox.
“I think the first thing that jumps off the page for me is his frame,” NFL Draft expert Nick Chandler said. “He fills his frame well and is built like an outside guy. I really liked his ability to smother receivers down the field on film.”
Something that Chandler emphasized was Wilcox’s speed.
“Where the league is at right now, speedsters are more plentiful than ever which does devalue him slightly,” Chandler said. “I try to look at the upside with these later round guys. Is it realistic for a seventh rounder to be a day one pro bowler? Not at all. But, I also think that he really could make this roster. I mean, think about the positive route opportunities with guys like this. Late round guys are hungry to make the team. When you combine that hunger with his physical traits, there’s no reason why he couldn’t make the 53-man roster.”
What Weakness does Wilcox have?
“It’s impossible to not mention his injury history,” Chandler said. “He reminds me of Obi Melifonwu when he was coming out. Another thing hurting him was the fact he never recorded a single interception in his career, and I contribute that to his smaller hand size. He’s a solid tackler and has got good wheels, so overall he may become a good special teams player for them. I don’t expect him to see any snaps at safety or corner early on.”
This is a similar story but different BYU player. The expectations set for Chris Wilcox should be similar to those of Dax Milne. The goal should be to see how he does in the preseason and whether he can make the 53-man roster. If he does see any snaps as a rookie, they will almost certainly come as a special teams player. If there are injuries on the roster, he could be trusted into a position to play. That’s unlikely though.
One trait that helps him is frontline speed. This will make it a harder cut for Ariens. Additionally, his health will dictate whether or not he survives the end of preseason cuts. Expect Wilcox to have more opportunities than Milne if he cant make the final roster for the Buccaneers. Unlike Milne, the natural athletic ability will be much harder to ignore for NFL teams. Like most seventh round players, it will be an uphill battle for Wilcox. Expect him to accept the challenge and fight for a roster spot this fall.
Featured image courtesy NFL Draft Diamonds