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Logan Wilson can have an immediate impact for the Bengals

Wilson brings much-needed coverage prowess to the Bengals’ linebacker corps.

2020 NFL Draft - Rounds 2 - 7 Photo by NFL via Getty Images

After 2019 third-round pick Germaine Pratt concluding his rookie season on a high note, Bengals fans were hoping the team would find him a partner in this year’s NFL Draft.

Happy to oblige, the Bengals went with a linebacker again in the third round; selecting Logan Wilson from Wyoming.

Wilson has one particular skill that could cause him to have a major impact on the Bengals defense, but let’s start by looking at the fundamentals.

The most fundamental skill that a defensive player can have is tackling and Wilson is one one the best tacklers in this year’s draft.

This clip is an excellent example.

As the running back tries to hit the defense’s edge, Wilson tracks him inside-out, not allowing the ball carrier an opportunity to cut back. He keeps his head up (which is important because it allows him to see a potential juke or cut), brings his hips through on the tackle, and keeps his feet moving.

A good tackle does not have to take the offensive player to the ground. In fact, there is an advantage to keeping the ball-carrier up.

In this clip you can see Wilson’s teammates running in to his assistance. Wilson has the tackle secured so the next player in should be stripping the ball and causing a turnover.

Wilson is the backside inside linebacker in this clip, and the ball is run away from him to the outside.

As Wilson scrapes across the formation, the center works up to the second level to block him. Wilson strikes the center with enough force that it jars his entire upper body back. This keeps him in front of the blocker and allows him to make another nice, high tackle on the ball carrier. Once again he shoots his hips and strikes the ball carrier with great force.

Simply put: Wilson is an excellent tackler.

On this play Wilson comes into the screen from the right side and undercuts the route for the interception.

After you watch him once or twice, watch the quarterback. You might want to control the curser so you can watch him slowly.

The first thing to look at is his shoulder. Where does it point?

Right toward the middle of the field.

Is his shoulder high or low? If it is high that means he wants to put some air under the ball; he’s looking to go deep. If it’s low that means he wants to zip it in with speed over the middle.

Here his shoulder is low.

So we see that his shoulder is low and pointed right at the middle of the field toward. Wilson sees this too.

The next thing to look for is when the quarterback takes his front hand off of the ball.

Wilson reads these indicators. As the quarterback takes his front hand off of the ball with his shoulder pointed low and directly toward the middle of the field. Wilson breaks underneath the receiver.

He trusted his reads and broke with speed and conviction for the interception.

The Bengals need to be able to create turnovers and Wilson can do just that in the passing game.

Similarly, on this play you can see Wilson read the quarterback.

He breaks on the slip screen so quickly that no blocker can even come close to him and he makes the tackle for a loss.

Wilson is also an exceptional athlete.

In this clip he drops into zone coverage. The quarterback thinks he can throw it over him to the deep dig route.

The quarterback is mistaken.

Wilson leaps up in the air and comes down with the interception. This was one of 10 career interceptions for Wilson.

Wilson is phenomenal in coverage, setting him apart from any linebacker in recent Bengals history. He will likely team up with Pratt as the team’s nickel linebackers and should take on the role of dime linebacker as well.

Combine that with his superb tackling ability and instincts against the run and you have a potential three-down player for the long-term in the Bengals defense.