2018 NFL Draft

Injury to Wilson could significantly impact his draft stock

Injury to Wilson could significantly impact his draft stock

By Rob Rang | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

Tyler Wilson's draft stock in peril?

Arkansas entered Saturday evening's game against Louisiana-Monroe as a 30-point favorite and the No. 8 team in the country. They were led, of course, by quarterback Tyler Wilson, a Heisman candidate and projected top five pick in next April's draft.

Wilson was hammered early and often in the first two quarters against the WarHawks and didn't play after halftime. The Razorbacks were ahead 21-7 at the time but were unable to maintain the advantage without their all-conference quarterback, ultimately being shocked in overtime.

Arkansas officials refused to divulge any specifics of Wilson's injury following the game other than to characterize it as one "above the shoulders."

On Sunday, however, Razorbacks' head coach John L. Smith updated the situation characterizing Wilson's injury as "a blow to the head" and described his star quarterback's availability as "day to day."

This is the second time in 15 career starts that Wilson has been knocked out of a game with a head injury. The Razorbacks' star was knocked out of the New Mexico game nearly a year ago to the day (September 10, 2011) with "concussion-like symptoms."

Just a short time ago two concussions taken over a couple of seasons against SEC competition may not sway an NFL team eager to land the 6-2, 220 fireball-throwing quarterback -- especially one as highly rated as Wilson, NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 rated overall prospect for the 2013 draft behind only Matt Barkley.

Considering the precaution now rightly being given to concussions, however, it isn't out of the question that Wilson's draft stock, not to mention Arkansas' season, could very much be in peril.

It should be made clear that Wilson's toughness is not about to be questioned by NFL scouts. Anyone paying attention to the Razorbacks' record-breaking quarterback the past calendar year has seen him boldly deliver passes as defenders bore down on him. Wilson's courage in the pocket is one of his most impressive traits.

Wilson completed 11 of 20 passes Saturday for 196 yards and two touchdowns. He'd led the Razorbacks to a 21-7 halftime lead and was coming off a 367 yard, three touchdown effort in Arkansas' season-opening victory over Jacksonville State.

Last season, his first as a starter after serving as Ryan Mallett's backup in 2009-10, Wilson earned First Team All-SEC accolades from the league's coaches, the first Arkansas Razorback to ever be so honored. Starting all 13 games, Wilson completed 63.2% of his passes for 3,638 yards and 24 touchdowns against just six interceptions.

While Wilson has demonstrated the strong arm and toughness NFL teams are looking for in a potential franchise quarterback, some scouts have been holding judgement on Wilson's stock as he attempts to duplicate his 2011 season without three receivers who each were selected in the fourth round of April's draft -- Joe Adams (Carolina Panthers), Jarius Wright (Minnesota Vikings) and Greg Childs (Vikings).

With no reported timetable yet for his return and No. 1 rated Alabama coming to town next weekend, the next opportunity for Wilson to steady his personal stock as well as his teams' isn't yet known.

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