High School and College Career
Payton Wilson 4-star recruit from Orange High School, joined the NC State football program.
During Wilson’s freshman year in 2019, he played in 11 games and logged a total of 366 snaps as a linebacker. He finished with an impressive 49 tackles, 3 pass breakups, an interception, and an elite QB rating when being targeted of 48.7. As a pass rusher, Wilson added 7 total pressures, consisting of 6 QB hurries, no QB hits, and one sack throughout the season.
His sophomore year in 2020, he played in 10 games and logged 689 snaps for the Wolfpack. He recorded solid numbers, including 74 tackles, one pass breakup, 2 interceptions, and a QB rating of 62.0 when targetted. As a pass rusher, he particularly shone with 20 total pressures, which comprised 12 QB hurries, 4 QB hits, and 4 sacks during the year.
Wilson’s junior year in 2021, he played in only two games, contributing just 51 snaps.
Wilson returned as a senior in 2022, playing in 10 games and logging a total of 561 snaps. He had 42 tackles, 3 pass breakups, an interception, and a QB rating when being targeted of 108.1. As a pass rusher, he tallied 25 total pressures, which included 19 QB hurries, 3 QB hits, and 3 sacks.
Payton Wilson Scouting Report Introduction
Payton Wilson is known for his long and athletic frame, which makes him a natural fit for an off-ball linebacker position in the NFL. With expert timing and the ability to shoot interior gaps, he is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to blitzing. Wilson’s urgency in pursuit of the ball is impressive, and his motor never seems to slow down, making him a dynamic presence on the field. In terms of tackling technique, Wilson seems to have it down pat, aiming low and wrapping up the ball carrier while maintaining his footing.
Not only is Wilson a skilled player, he is also recognized as a leader on his team, bringing impressive competitive toughness to the table. However, his injury history is a cause for concern, as his availability for games may suffer as a result. Despite his hustle on every snap, though, Wilson’s range is limited, which could hinder his ability to play in space in the NFL. He can handle shallow coverage drops, but when it comes to being a true matchup defender in man coverage, Wilson is unlikely to be able to excel.
Another area where Wilson struggles is with his processing speed. While he puts forth effort on every snap, his ability to read and react to key plays is only average. Wilson’s best moments on the field come when he is able to shoot gaps and make plays near the line of scrimmage. To improve his game, it would be beneficial for him to activate his hands more quickly when taking on blocks and playing through contact. Currently, there are too many instances where he relies solely on his shoulder to take on blocks rather than engaging his hands. This lack of block deconstruction skills could hurt his overall performance, despite having the frame and length necessary to be successful.
Payton Wilson’s unique blend of size and movement skills makes him an intriguing player to watch. With his good length, wide shoulders, and long arms, Wilson has all the physical attributes to make him a force to be reckoned with on the field.
Wilson has an impressive closing burst and functional strength, allowing him to bounce off blocks easily much more successfully than one would think, given his size. He also shows decent skills when setting the edge against the run, playing with a good pad level and wide base to anchor himself.
He can anticipate and read the game and this helps him with his sideline-to-sideline range. Wilson is a gifted athlete who shows a natural feel for pass rushing. He possesses very good lateral agility, which enables him to shake pass blockers with ease. Overall, Wilson’s impressive frame and raw ability make him a promising talent in the world of football.
When it comes to evaluating football players, one of the most important factors to consider is their ability to play with a physical edge. This means that they can effectively use their size, strength, and aggression to dominate their opponents on the field. Unfortunately, in the case of Payton Wilson, this is an area in which he struggles.
One of the most significant issues with Wilson’s play is that he too often relies on running around the edge rather than engaging with offensive linemen. This can be problematic because it leaves him vulnerable to being pushed out of bounds or caught behind the line of scrimmage. Additionally, when an offensive lineman is able to get into Wilson’s frame, he struggles to disengage and make a play.
Another significant problem with Wilson’s game is that he has a limited repertoire of pass-rush moves. This means that he doesn’t have many effective techniques for getting past opposing linemen and putting pressure on the quarterback. Additionally, he struggles to use his hands effectively when trying to shed blockers, which can limit his ability to make tackles.
All of these issues add up to a player who is very much a work in progress. While Wilson certainly has potential, there are significant areas in which he needs to improve in order to become a consistent contributor on the field. One particular concern is that he cannot be relied upon to play on the edge every down and generate consistent pressure.
Payton Wilson is the 176th prospect on our draft big board.