Wilson Wows at Combine

David Wilson, Danny Coale and Jarret Boykin each worked out in front of NFL coaches, scouts and general managers Sunday at the NFL combine. Wilson had the most impressive day of the trio. The low point of his afternoon, and that's relative to an otherwise outstanding day, was posting a 4.49 40-yard-dash time (7th best among running backs). Many Hokies were expecting faster, Wilson ran a 4.29 40 last February during winter max testing. But keep in mind, that was clocked on a Tech watch, and speed coming out of a sprinter's stance doesn't accurately model speed in full pads on a football field. With that said, Wilson had the highest vertical jump of all the running backs (second overall), a freakish 41 inches. Wilson was also top among backs in the broad jump. He leapt 132 inches, 9 better than the next closest back and only an inch less than the top jump of the day. Enough numbers, he also passed the eye test of the experts.

"More I read and look at all these numbers, David Wilson absolutely blew up the Combine. Can downplay that, but he's a really good back too." -- Evan Silva, PFT

"Wilson was another who had a fast start to the day, posting 40 times in the mid-4.4 second area. His speed was apparent in all the drills as Wilson showed a tremendous burst and the ability to turn it on in a single step. His pass-catching skills were the surprise of the afternoon. Wilson ran terrific routes, showed soft hands and did a great job catching the deep ball." Tony Pauline, SI

"#VaTech RB David Wilson just continues to look really comfortable as a pass catcher and route runner. Looks the part of a 3-down NFL RB." -- Dion Caputi, NationalFootballPost

However, scouts and NFL decision makers are aware of what Wilson needs to improve on.

Wilson relied heavily on his athletic ability in college and runs with a very unconventional style that could get him in trouble at the next level against top athletes. He will allow his pad level to get high when changing directions downfield, and he will get caught off guard with that style at the next level. He isn't content enough with a 2-to-3-yard gain and will revert cross-field to try and make a play out of nothing, another habit that simply won't end well in most cases in the NFL. He needs to be more patient to let the plays and blocks come to him and play within a scheme, rather than try to make everything happen on his own each time he gets the ball.

(That reads like a French critique.) At the end of the day, Wilson certainly helped his draft stock.

Danny Coale is another Hokie who helped his draft day cause. Coale ran a 4.5 40 and did what he did for four seasons at Tech, got open (OK by default) and caught balls. Russ Lande of the Sporting News raved about Coale's performance.

He's quick to become a runner after the catch and showed a burst to separate coming out of his breaks. He has the size (6-foot, 201), quickness and route-running skills to play either on the outside or inside as a slot receiver at the next level.

After a highly productive career with the Hokies under several different quarterbacks, Coale came to Indianapolis with a solid middle-round draft grade by many scouts.

Now after a strong performance at the Combine where he ran the 40 in the low 4.4s Coale will climb up draft boards, possibly into the second or third round.

Fellow receiver Jarrett Boykin did not have as stellar a workout. His 4.74 40 was worst among receivers and he dropped some balls. He finished in the middle to bottom of the other tests, except the 60-yard shuttle where a time of 11.22 seconds was good for 4th best for receivers. Boykin's combine performance won't define his potential, his body of work as Tech's all-time receiver speaks for itself, but a solid performance at Virginia Tech's Pro Day will help him move in a positive direction.

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Comments

Out of everyone

I really think Danny has the best chance to make the first transition into the NFL. As shown, Wilson is a freakish athlete with a boat load of potential. I hope he dazzles everyone in the NFL. I hope i'm wrong and he ends up carrying the rock for some team in need next fall. Nonetheless, Danny just further proved to everyone else what we already knew. He has good speed, size, and intelligence. In today's game there is a lot less airing it out to the biggest guy on the field as elite QB's spread the ball around a lot more. If you were listening in yesterday the commentators spoke to this. Wide Outs are being used more and more in packages based on their strengths. Sure, the Megatrons and Fitzgeralds will continue to shine as dominant "go to" guys. However, when going 70, 80, 90 yards downfield the possession type guys are needed for shorter yardage situations to move the chains. Looking at his tape I'm sure many scouts will see how WIDE OPEN Coale got on a consistent basis. I'm really excited to see how all of our guys develop and hope they get their moment in the sun. What I see in Danny though is less of a "sleeper" and more of a testament to Tech's unheralded success in finding and developing talent.

Those comments about the pass catching and route running really grind my gears.

I really wish we utilized him more out of the backfield.

My major complaint of the offense all last year

was the utilization of Wilson in the passing game. He caught less than 2 balls a game, which shows a lack of creativity and utilization of their player's best assets. Also, pass to the RBs open up the redzone and still get your prized RB the TD. VT can't run an RB screen to save their life. Were where the passes to the flats, over the middle, wheel routes, and check downs? It's a shame, cause DW will be the next LeSean McCoy (and I wouldn't be surprised if Philly drafted him). Kinda wish VT ran a Philly style of offense...

you commented on my LT3 post

but the one thing I didn't say you captured here...serious wtf out to our offensive staff. Wilson's routes being the surprise of the day pisses me off almost as much as Eddie Royal having his best game to date in his NFL freakin debut.

All that after we heard all last summer DW would be utilized more in the passing game. Kinda like we heard 2 summers ago about how they had all these packages and plays to get Oglesby the ball more at FB.

"I'm just rocking the Fuller"-Kendall Fuller
"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster

I know he wowed a lot of analysts

But frankly, I thought he would clock in at least 4.40...

I was expecting at least 4.40 as well but Wilson definitely didn't looking happy both times after he ran, so maybe he was just having an off day. Good thing he's still got the Pro Day to impress even more.

#VT4SEC

Danny Coale was no suprise to me though

Danny Coale was the 2nd fastest player on the team in terms of straight line speed. In my opinion, his inability to convert that Nebraska catch to a TD is probably why people don't think he's fast.