Wilson still fired up over snubbing|Packers’ pick enjoyed minicamp

Published 3:36 pm Sunday, May 9, 2010

By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
BELHAVEN — C.J. Wilson hasn’t let the fire die down.
Wilson, a former star at Northside High School and East Carolina, thought he was going to get selected by the fourth or fifth round in the NFL Draft. When his named wasn’t called until the seventh round, with the 230th overall pick by the Green Bay Packers, Wilson was rather irate.
He didn’t hide his feelings. Not from reporters. Not from Packers’ coaches. Not form Packers’ officials.
“My thought was, whoever got me was getting a good player,” Wilson said moments after being drafted. “Everybody that didn’t get me is going to wish they got me.”
Does he regret not biting his tongue on draft day? Not one bit. He’s letting that fire burn as motivation.
“I don’t regret anything,” Wilson said. “I’m out to prove my point.
“If it’s in practice, meetings, drills or working out on my own, I’m going to use that. I want to follow what the greats did with the Packers. I know it’s going to take hard work, but I’m motivated. I don’t regret anything at all.”
The 6-3, 290-pound defensive end recently returned home after a three-day rookie minicamp in Green Bay.
“It was interesting,” said Wilson, who wears No. 98 for the Packers. “It was a great camp. I got to meet some of my teammates and see some of the area. We had a lot of meetings and did a lot of drill work.
“The area looked a lot like Greenville. I felt like I was still at home.”
Wilson was smacked with the realization he was an NFL player when he walked into historic Lambeau Field for the first time.
“I know a bunch of legends played there, guys like Brett Favre and Reggie White and Gilbert Brown,” Wilson said. “There are so many greats who played there.
“I was just happy to be there. Hopefully, I’ll spend quite a few years there.”
He lined up against a pair of future NFL players during his college days. Wilson squared off with Boise State’s Ryan Clady in the 2007 Hawaii Bowl, and with Virginia’s Eugene Monroe in a 2008 contest.
Clady became the first-round pick (12th overall) of the Denver Broncos. Monroe became a first-round pick (8th overall) of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
While those were two of the best Wilson faced, he knows he’ll be facing strong players game in and game out in the NFL.
Wilson put up some big numbers for the Pirates, finishing his college career with 27 sacks, 45.5 tackles-for-loss, 36 quarterback hurries, four blocked kicks and 192 tackles. He realizes none of that matters now.
“I have a lot of work to do,” Wilson said. “The players here are better, faster and stronger.”
Wilson also has to get adjusted to a different defensive scheme. The Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year played in a 4-3 base in college, but will play in a 3-4 defense run by Green Bay defensive coordinator Dom Capers.
“It’s going to be a great learning experience,” Wilson said. “I think I will do okay. I can pick it up fast. It’s just more reading instead of attacking. I’m picking it up fast, but I still have a long way to go.”
Wilson will learn more about the scheme, and more about his teammates, when he returns to Green Bay next week for OTA’s (organized team activities).
“I’m really excited about that,” Wilson said. “I get to see the guys that I’ll be working with.”
Shortly thereafter, Wilson will be headed to California for a four-day NFL Rookie Symposium. Wilson and the rest of those who got drafted will hear discussions about financial management, the personal conduct code and dealing with the media, among other items on the agenda.
Wilson is thankful he’s with the Packers, and plans to make the most of it.
“I thank God for my opportunity,” Wilson said.
Fans can follow Wilson’s progress on his twitter page (http://twitter.com/cjwilson95).
He’s fired up about playing for the Packers. And he’s hoping that fire that’s burning deep inside him won’t flicker any time soon.