With just three rookie minicamp performances this past weekend, former Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson made his presence known.
Though he barely knows the playbook, the rookie has caught the eyes of the coaching staff and the media.
Read one headline on NFL.com Monday morning: “Could Tyler Wilson push to start for Oakland Raiders?”
Matt Flynn, acquired from the Seahawks this offseason, is penciled in as the team’s No. 1 quarterback going into this summer’s training camp, but GM Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen say holdover Terrelle Pryor will be given an opportunity to compete for the job.
After drafting Wilson in the fourth round, McKenzie said Wilson, too, will get a chance to compete, but he doesn’t want to rush him.
“I want him to learn the playbook first,” McKenzie told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Make sure he gets behind the center and not the guard.”
McKenzie also said he believes Wilson has some adjustments to make.
“The coaches will have to work on his mechanics,” McKenzie told the Chronicle. “These guys coming in as rookies, they’re all going to have to get coached up.”
But in his three-day stint at the Raiders’ minicamp this weekend, Allen said he liked what he saw.
“Obviously, picking up a new system, there’s a little bit of rust there,” Allen told Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group. “But throwing the ball, he’s done a nice job. I don’t have any question about his arm strength and his accuracy.”
Corkran reported that Wilson looked poised and able to throw all the routes, from deep balls to touch swing passes.
“If anything, it’s the receivers that are going to have to adjust to the velocity on Wilson’s throws,” wrote Corkan. “Several times, laser-like throws went through or off a receiver’s hands.”
Though he wasn’t selected until the third day of last month’s NFL Draft, Wilson (6-foot-2, 217 pounds) was highly regarded. The Raiders coaches liked what they saw of him at the Senior Bowl, and at Arkansas in his senior season Wilson completed 62.1 percent of his throws for 3,387 yards, 21 TDs and 13 interceptions. The previous season he completed 63.2 percent for 3,638 yards, 24 TDs and just six pickoffs.
Some even believed before the draft that Wilson is a better QB than more touted college prospects such as Geno Smith and E.J. Manuel.
NFL.com draft analyst Josh Norris wrote before the draft that he had Wilson rated No. 1 in the draft among all QBs.
“I don’t expect Wilson to be among the top quarterbacks selected. … But he can be successful wherever he lands, thanks to his willingness to stick to the pocket and test (throw) vertically,” wrote Norris. “There are some placement issues, but those can be fixed with improved footwork.”
Wilson, of course, is playing everything low key. He hasn’t even met all his new teammates yet.
“It’s an opportunity,” Wilson said after his first Raiders practice. “Obviously there’s a lot I have to learn. … I’ve got a lot of work to do to get up to speed because there have been veteran guys that have been here that are way ahead of me right now. So I’m playing catch-up from that point.”
Wrote Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com’s Around the League Editor: “Let’s wait for the pads to come and veterans to arrive before getting carried away, but Wilson’s progress is a story to watch this summer.”