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Breakout Profiles: Gerris Wilkinson

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Up next in my series is much maligned player: Gerris Wilkinson. We as fans have been waiting and hoping for Gerris Wilkinson to break out and become something with the New York Giants. It’s last call time for Gerris Wilkinson as it relates to his position on the NY Giants. Is Gerris Wilkinson the beautiful girl in the bar that turns you to stone in the morning? Or is he a legetimate n.f.l. player? His skill set is tantalizing.

I really thought that Wilkinson would have been a solid player by now based on what I have seen from his limited playing time experiences, but that has yet to come to fruition.

He has played in 4 seasons in the N.F.L. and has registered 60 tackles in 46 games and 7 starts. Wilkinson has 2 passes defensed and 2 Forced fumbles.

Before we look into Wilkinson’s future let’s take a look at what people were saying about Wilkinson before he was selected in the third round of the N.F.L. Draft in 2006.

Positives: Tall athlete with a thick upper body, long arms, good bubble, solid muscle tone and valid speed to chase down plays all over the field … High-motor type who plays with a sense of urgency, hustling to the ball and sacrificing his body to make the play … While he does not explode behind his tackles, he generates enough power to shock ball carriers and drive them back when he keeps his pads down … Has keen field instincts and flows to the ball quickly … Best when playing on the move than when working downhill, as he has the lateral range and loose hips to thread in traffic and clear trash … Has adequate hand punch to jolt and create separation on the tight end and fullback … Takes good pursuit angles in run containment and can close on the ball in a hurry … Does a good job in attempts to flatten working down the line … Can collision and wrap when working in space … Shows the loose hips to cleanly break out of his backpedal in man coverage, staying low in his pass drops to turn and run in his area … Has large, natural hands to make plays on the ball … Effective blitzer who will give chase until the whistle, using a nice swim move to slip off blocks, and if given a lane, he can close on the quarterback in an instant.

Negatives: Plays with a narrow base and really lacks an ideal position … Might be better suited for a weak side position inside in a 3-4 alignment, as he gets too tall in his stance to prevent blockers from getting underneath his pads and does not have the bulk or raw power to stack and control as a down lineman … Despite his good weight room figures, he will struggle to shed and prefers to avoid blocks rather than engage … Has good range moving down the line, but needs to do a better job of keeping his feet when trying to battle through tight quarters … Too high-cut to gain good leverage coming off the snap … Can cover tight ends and backs in man coverage, but lacks a feel for the zone, as he will plant himself in one area and then look lost trying to figure out the action around him.

Wilkinson is a versatile player, but will probably not have his pro position determined for him until draft day. He could possibly be converted to a rush end because of his burst off the ball, but he gets engulfed by larger blockers who have success getting under his pads when working along the line. He has the lateral range to pursue, but lacks zone conception to be effective as a strong-side outside linebacker.

Wilkinson is too high-cut and tall for a classic 4-3 middle linebacker and while he has the ability to locate the ball, he does not explode behind his tackles as you want from a man in the middle of the field. He reminds me a lot of the Chargers’ Steve Foley, another tweener who played a variety of roles with several teams before he was able to find a scheme that allowed him to play up to his ability.

If being used to play downhill, Wilkinson will struggle. His weight room figures fail to translate to the field, especially when working in the box. He struggles to keep his balance and open his hips when working in-line and really needs a free lane to gain penetration shooting the gaps. However, he is quick to fill and when he keeps his pads down, can push the fullback and clog the rush lanes.

Wilkinson is an effective blitzer who is able to flatten and chase working down the line. He has the awareness to locate the quarterback in backside pursuit and it is very rare to see him bite on misdirection or play-action. His best success at the pro level will probably be in a 3-4 alignment, but look for him to adjust to whatever role given him. He has a history of doing that in the past, with four moves during his collegiate career.

BIO: Full-time starter the past three seasons, named All-Conference after his senior and junior campaigns. Numbers last season included 85/9/4 with two interceptions. Career-best totals of 119/17/4.5 came as a junior.

POSITIVES: Athletic prospect with possibilities at several different linebacker positions. Forceful on the field, scrapes laterally in the box and is a sure-handed tackler. Plays heads-up football, quickly locating the action in run defense. Effective in zone coverage, fast on the blitz and stays with the action. Hard hitter who goes for the knockout blow.

NEGATIVES: Lacks the quick or immediate change of direction and is usually a half-step slow getting to the spot laterally.

ANALYSIS: Possessing solid size/speed numbers, Wilkerson has a middle linebacker mentality yet the physical skills to play on the outside. Could grow into the strong-side position though he must improve his play in coverage.


Has good size and the frame to get bigger…Very athletic…Fast and quick with good range…An outstanding run defender…Big hitter and solid tackler who packs a punch…Smart with good instincts…A superb pass rusher and blitzer…Extremely versatile and has experience at inside linebacker and outside linebacker as well as defensive end…Was very productive…Still has a lot of potential and promise.


Coverage skills leave a lot to be desired but he has the physical tools to get better…Needs to get stronger and pack on some weight…Bounced around and has never been able to focus his attention on mastering one position…Raw.


Could project to either inside or outside linebacker at the pro level…An interesting prospect who still has some upside once he can commit to a single position and be allowed to develop…Playmaker who could end up being a steal for someone.


The reports on Gerris Wilkinson indicate that he was a player who was seen as very versatile and someone who might be able to play both inside and outside, although he had been playing more at the inside linebacker position in college.

There were a lot of good things to like about Gerris Wilkinson: a reputation as a player who works hard, a player who has football intelligence, a player who is a very good athlete and someone who will try to explode into players for big hits (even though he isn’t huge and doesn’t level players).

There were some negatives: there was a question about whether or not his measurables translated to the gridiron. There were questions about whether or not he was too versatile: IE. Is he so versatile because he doesn’t really have a position where he fits effectively.

That was Wilkinson from college. What has he shown in the N.F.L.

In his rookie season Wilkinson appeared in all 16 games and even started two games. He had 27 tackles a pass defensed and two forced fumbles and showed some promise. But then the injuries started happening. In 2007 Wilkinson played in 13 games (with no starts) registering only 14 tackles. 2008 was another year of descent for Gerris as he played in only 9 games, even though he started 5 and had only 10 tackles. 2008 was the year the Giants expected Wilkinson to break out and be someone. He was slated as a starter and expected to produce solid numbers for the Giants.

2009 was embarassing as Wilkinson rarely dressed started no games and contributed essentially nothing, but it was not as embarassing as 2008 as Wilkinson started the first few games of the season and produced nothing.

Well this year is it for Wilkinson….if he can even make it out of training camp.

Wilkinson will battle Jonathan Goff, Phillip Dillard, Bryan Kehl, and Chase Blackburn for the starting middle linebackers pot. If Perry Fewell is moving to a cover 2 system (which again has NOT been confirmed from everything I’ve seen….only speculation) that might be the system that fits Wilkinsons athletic ability and football game. If Wilkinson does not show enough improvement to win the starting linebacker job I would not be suprised if he was released.

It’s put up or shut up Wilkinson and I hope you can put up but I expect you to be released before the season is over.

Breakout profiles

Mathias Kiwanuka

S Kenny Phillips

Travis Beckum

WR Ramses Barden

Aaron Ross

Clint Sintim

LB Jonathan Goff

WR Hakeem Nicks

RB Andre Brown

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4 Responses to “Breakout Profiles: Gerris Wilkinson”

  1. Shai says:

    I guess anything is possible but how many linebackers will we keep?

    Boley, Kehl, Sintim, Blackburn, Dillard, Deossie are locks. I would assume we keep 7 LBs, so the last spot could come down to Wilkinson vs. Micah Johnson vs. Adrian Tracy.

    At this point though, if he ain’t gonna start, is it worth it to keep him or developing a guy like Johnson or Tracy?

  2. I agree Shai.

    If he’s not starting he’s not worth keeping on the roster.

  3. Frank R says:

    Wilkison is a cream puff or just unlucky. Either way he should be playing special teams on the Lions sometime this season.

    P.S. DeOssie I don’t think is even considered a LB anymore. He is a very good long snapper something that will keep in him in the leagus for years. Fourth round is kind of high for a longsnapper though.

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