Wilson anxious for upcoming draft|Pleased with combine, pro day

Published 7:42 am Sunday, March 28, 2010

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — C.J. Wilson has done all he can for the scouts. Now all he can do is wait to see where he’ll go in the NFL Draft.
The former Northside High School and East Carolina star had solid performances at the NFL combine and the pro day, held Thursday at ECU. Wilson said it was enjoyable to perform well alongside some of his teammates at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
“This is very important,” Wilson said. “I got to come out here with my teammates one last time on this field together. It felt good to be out here showing the NFL what we’re made of, and I think I did a pretty good job.”
The 6-3, 290-pound defensive end had 32 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press. He ran a 4.83 in the 40-yard dash, had a 33-inch vertical jump and finished the 20-yard shuttle in 4.77 seconds.
“I did great at the combine,” Wilson said. “I came out here (at pro day) and I think I did pretty good, too. I thank God for that.”
Wilson, who racked up 27 sacks, 45.5 tackles-for-loss, 36 quarterback hurries, four blocked kicks and 192 tackles in his college career, is anxious for the NFL Draft to get here. The draft will be held April 22-24 at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Wilson is projected to be drafted between the third and sixth rounds.
“The earlier you go, the more money you get,” Wilson said. “I’m just waiting to see what happens.
“All you know is that you’re going to be with one of 32 teams. I don’t know where I’m going to go. I just have to wait and pray.”
Wilson’s agent, Bill Johnson of ProFiles Sports Management, said the former ECU defensive end can offer plenty to NFL teams.
“I think he has an outstanding combination of skills,” Johnson said. “It melds with great intangibles like character and work ethic. He’s an outstanding athlete and has great size.
“He ran rush the passer, but he can also anchor well. At 290 (pounds) he ran numbers that a lot of edge rushers at 20 pounds less than him are running. At the same token, you’re not giving up strength. His 30-plus reps (on the bench press) at the combine shows that he’s a powerful guy.”
Wilson, who was named Conference USA Defensive Most Valuable Player for the second-straight year by Sporting News Magazine, and was a First Team selection to the All-C-USA Team for the second consecutive season, has private workouts set up next week with the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Johnson, who was born and raised in Washington and graduated from ECU, believes his client will learn plenty in the NFL.
“When he gets to the next level, he’ll be able to learn some of the techniques where he just won’t get away with his athleticism,” Johnson said. “He’ll be able to add some more tools to his toolbox, which will make him highly effective.”
Besides Wilson’s skills, Johnson believes Wilson’s character will go a long way when NFL teams make their selections in the draft.
“I think at the end of the day, character has become more of a factor,” Johnson said. “NFL teams call it ‘protecting the shield.’ That just means protecting the integrity and character of the game.
“With C.J., he’s a safe bet off the field. He’s going to represent that team on the field and off the field.
“He brings a lot of value as a team leader in the locker room and in the community. I think it’s really in vogue now to go with the character and ability combination. It’s at an all-time premium in the NFL.”
Johnson was happy to return home to see his client in action. Along with Wilson, Johnson also represents ECU players Linval Joseph and Matt Dodge.
“It’s always nice to come back home,” Johnson said. “It gives me an added sense of accountability when I have a guy from my backyard.
“Ironically, I played high school football on this field (at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium) in 1983. It gives me pride and pleasure to come home and work with these guys.”
Johnson, who is joined by Pat Dye, former football coach with the ECU Pirates, at ProFiles Sports, has an impressive list of clients. They include Chicago Bears great Brian Urlacher, Dallas Cowboys’ linebacker Keith Brooking, Philadelphia Eagles’ receiver Reggie Brown, Denver Broncos’ tackle Ryan Clady and Dallas Cowboys’ linebacker DeMarcus Ware.
Wilson is excited to join that list of NFL players. Until that time, he plans to stay focused and stay hungry.
“I’m going to keep training,” Wilson said. “Once the draft hits, the next weekend we’ll be gone.
“I’m just going to wait with my family, pray and work out. I‘m excited. It’s almost here.”