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Super Bowl 50

Sun, Feb 7, 2016

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Expect many big draft surprises like Pats' 2012 stunner Tavon Wilson

A year ago at this time, with the New England Patriots on the clock for the 48th pick, Tavon Wilson became the latest in a long line of surprise picks.

Wilson, a safety out of Illinois, wasn't invited to the combine, barely ever had his name mentioned as a sleeper or someone remotely close to going that high, and ended up having a strong rookie season for the perennial Super Bowl contenders.

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2013 NFL Draft

Expect a lot more of the same over the next three days of this draft, with the upset picks not limited to the second day of the event, either. Wilson was such a surprise that some analysts didn't have any notes on him and weren't expecting him to be picked in the entire draft. This is an inexact science, to say the least. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and plenty of players could be getting unexpected phone calls this weekend.

Wilson has a simple message for them one year after he became a bit of a national story as his selection stumped many a draft pundit: "Just control what you can control," Wilson said. "Try to make the most of whatever opportunity you have because you can't make this call yourself."

Wilson still sounds a little surprised he didn't at least get an invite to the combine. "I definitely thought I should have," he said.

But obviously that's not the be-all and end-all, and there will be plenty of non-combine invites going in the middle rounds of this draft. Wilson did make a couple of pre-draft visits and worked out for a handful of teams, so he knew there was some degree of interest in him, but even he didn't expect to be going in the top 50 picks.

"I was very excited when I got that call," he said. "The draft is so unpredictable and you don't know where you are going to go. But to get a chance to come to a team like this was special. With every opportunity I was given, I tried to do the best I could, and throughout the process I felt like I was rising, but you don't know ... I just knew I was going to be going to the NFL and wanted to make the most of it."

On the second day of the draft, Wilson was trying to keep busy, out running errands. Then he got a call from his grandfather, who was watching the draft.

"He called me and said to come back to the house and watch the draft with him," Wilson said. "I was home about 45 minutes, and then I got the call from the Patriots. Coach [Bill] Belichick was on the phone with one of the position coaches and they told me they were going to take me with the next pick."

Chances are, Belichick won't be the only one making those surprise calls this week.

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