After all, he'd appeared in a total of 13 games over the previous three seasons (eventually was given a medical redshirt in 2008) and had fared reasonably well in 2010 (34 of 51 for 453 yards and four touchdowns/three interceptions) when pressed into considerable duty once Mallett went down to injury.
That said, few were bold enough to suggest that Wilson would explode onto the SEC scene like he did in 2011, completing 63.2 percent of his passes for 3,638 yards and 24 touchdowns against just six interceptions. For his efforts, Wilson was the first Arkansas quarterback to ever earn First Team All-SEC honors from conference coaches and the media.
The trick became trying to repeat his 2011 success following the abrupt departure of head coach Bobby Petrino, as well as the loss of offensive coordinator Garrick McGee (hired as Alabama-Birmingham's head coach) and three wide receivers -- Jarius Wright, Joe Adams and Greg Childs -- all selected in the fourth round of the 2012 draft.
Wilson continued to put up solid numbers during Arkansas' miserable 2012 season, but he was certainly impacted by the Razorbacks' 4-8 freefall out of the national spotlight. Wilson played in 11 games, throwing for 3,387 yards, 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while completing 62.1 percent of his passes as he fought through the adjustments of a new coaching staff and new receivers, including a few true freshman.
In a weak quarterback class, Wilson had an opportunity to elevate his stock during the pre-draft process. He began his ascent by erasing some of the concerns regarding his arm strength and accuracy with a strong week of practice at the Senior Bowl, and emerged as a solid second-round candidate.
Isn't going to remind anyone of Robert Griffin III for his elusiveness but has the mobility to slip past rushers in the pocket and buy extra time. Showed better accuracy rolling to either direction than expected when asked to do this in Mobile... Didn't appear to have any issues at the Senior Bowl in dropping back from center, which again, was a bit of a surprise considering that he wasn't often asked to do so with the Razorbacks.
WEAKNESSES: He's quite confident in his ability to fit passes through tight windows, and will throw with just his arm rather than stepping into passes. This confidence, when combined with a slightly elongated delivery, results in an occasional terrible decision that can result in an easy interception. This pattern, unfortunately, also was shown in Mobile.
Saw his interceptions more than double from his first season to his second, leading to some concerns that he was simply trying to do too much and may have the mentality to continue with this destructive all-or-nothing pattern in the NFL. Lacks the athleticism to consistently escape the pocket or to be a threat to run with the ball. Enjoyed his greatest success under Bobby Petrino, whose QB-friendly attack has been known to inflate statistics. Has been knocked out games each of the past two seasons with head injuries and has only started 24 games in his career.
COMPARES TO: Phillip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers -- While Wilson possesses a more traditional delivery than Rivers, the grand result is often the same. Each quarterback has the talent to make the dazzling throw but will occassionally get too greedy and throw the ball up for grabs. Wilson, while tough as nails, also isn't as big as the 6-5, 228 pound Rivers and has already shown a troubling history of injury despite starting just two seasons.