One of the best aspects of this current Miami Dolphins era is the culture that head coach Brian Flores has instilled throughout the franchise. Recently, you heard Kyle Van Noy talk about it on the Pat McAfee show, as well as recently re-signed kicker Jason Sanders. It also shows on and off the field that the Dolphins want football guys on their roster that they can trust, which brings up an interesting topic: Tennessee Titans’ offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson.
Wilson was the 29th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Coming out of Georgia, the massive 6-6, 350 pounder played with great athleticism and used his size to dominate defenders. He entered the NFL Draft early, after his redshirt sophomore season. Some draft experts thought this was a little early for him and that he could use another year to develop his game, but it may not have been his game that needed to develop; it was his maturity.
Since being drafted by the Titans with the 29th overall pick last year, Wilson has played a total of four snaps with only himself to blame. And on Tuesday, Titans General Manager Jon Robinson let that be known, saying (via ESPN’s Turron Davenport), “We put him on the reserve/non-football injury list and haven’t spoken to him since. He’s going to have to make a determination on whether he wants to do what it takes to play pro football. That will be on him. I know what the expectation level is here, and it’s no different than any other player on the football team. We have a certain standard that we want players to prepare and perform at professionally and as people, and there’s a lot of work to be done there.”
Well, well, well, there is a lot to unpack here, but let’s state the obvious; the Titans are not happy with Wilson, and deservedly so. Wilson had two run-ins with the law this season, one where he received a trespassing warning at a party (it was documented that Wilson contemplated jumping from a second-floor balcony to get away…not great for a player that your team invested a premium pick for). The second was a DUI arrest where Wilson was seen doing donuts at an intersection and then crashed into a concrete wall.
A key piece to take away from the Titans’ GM words on Wilson is, “We put him on the reserve/non-football injury list and haven’t spoken to him since.” That was on December 9, 2020. Today is February 19, 2021. That was 72 days ago, meaning the Titans have not spoken to their 1st round pick in 72 days!
That is where the Dolphins come into this. According to a report from Michael Balko of NFLAnalysis.com, “the Titans are expected to trade or release Wilson this offseason.” Regardless if you believe the information or not, it makes sense and seems likely. I seriously doubt the Titans will just flat-out release Wilson, but crazier things have happened in the NFL. I think a trade seems likely, so they can at least get a little return on their investment. However, I do not believe it will cost much, maybe a 6th round pick or a 5th round pick at best. If the Titans do trade him, and it is before June 1, 2021, they will save $2,629,180 on their 2021 cap, according to Spotrac.com.
The Dolphins should not think twice about trading a late-round pick for him if that is what the Titans want. Yes, there are significant character concerns, but taking a gamble on Wilson makes too much sense, especially for Miami.
Miami did tons of pre-draft homework on Wilson. Flores and Wilson went to the same high school! This will indeed allow Flores to have some inside information on the real character of this kid. His college teammate and fellow offensive lineman Solomon Kindley started 13 games for the Dolphins in 2020. Wilson could come to Miami and have people on his side helping him mature and reach his sky-high potential.
There has been a lot of talk about the Dolphins drafting Penei Sewell out of Oregon to be quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s right tackle and blindside protector. The Dolphins may have another option in Wilson. It would be risky to trust Wilson to turn it around, but Flores and the Dolphins have the culture to do it.
Miami needs to take that risk because the reward could be franchise-altering. If the Dolphins can guide Wilson and get him back on track in life, they will have one of the best, young offensive lines in football. It would potentially give them four out of their five starters from the 2020 NFL Draft, which would be a home run.
Personally, I think Wilson just needs the culture and guidance of a franchise like the Dolphins. Sometimes people deserve a second chance, and Wilson is no different. That is why it would be best for all involved if Miami acquires Isaiah Wilson.