A look back at 30 prospects the Patriots have plucked during the Bill Belichick Era. Some were hits, some misses and some foul balls. Today, the scouting report at the time on Eugene Wilson.
Eugene Wilson, CB, Illinois
5-10, 192 pounds, 8/17/80
2002: 68 tackles, 1 interception, 13 passes defensed
A bit of a gambler whose senior-year performance didn’t stack up to his tremendous junior season. Not a wrap-tackler but a good hitter with ball skills. Smooth and happy to participate in run-support. Also set Illinois school career-record of 896 yards (9.6 avg.) in 93 punt returns.
TO THE GOOD
Good hands and instincts. Three-year starter. Special teams value. Productive in the Big Ten. Coachable and respected. Good size.
TO THE BAD
Production dropped off in senior year pretty significantly.
At 37, Otis Smith is due for replacing at the corner opposite Ty Law. Leonard Myers and Terrell Buckley were the other corners on the roster in 2002. Wilson could give the team a start at rebuilding the secondary -- which has added Rodney Harrison to join Lawyer Milloy at the back end (goodbye Victor Green and the Big Nickel; goodbye Tebucky Jones, franchised and traded to the Saints). Additionally, Wilson can play special teams.
WalterFootball.com: No. 40 to Minnesota.
HOW’D THAT WORK OUT FOR YA?
After taking Ty Warren at 13 (the only time I nailed a Pats first-rounder), the Patriots traded their second of two first-round picks in 2003 to the Ravens (No. 19). In exchange for the Ravens second-round pick in 2003 (41) and their first-rounder in 2004 (ultimately the 21st pick spent in ’04 on Vince Wilfork). The Patriots then moved up from 41 to 36 by sending that 41st pick and the 75th pick to Houston for the 36th and 117th. The Patriots take Wilson at 36 and Dan Klecko at 117. After the Patriots released Lawyer Milloy at the end of training camp, the team slid Wilson to safety. Throughout training camp, Wilson was outshined at corner by fourth-rounder Asante Samuel who’s astounding ball skills solidified his corner spot. Wilson started 15 games and had four picks. He was memorably torched in the Super Bowl by Steve Smith and tore his leg up but came back to make 14 starts, come up with four more picks and win another Super Bowl in 2004. Started all 16 for the 2005 team that lost to Denver in the Divisional Playoffs. Injuries came on in 2006 and 2007 as James Sanders and Artrell Hawkins took Wilson’s playing time. Signed with the Bucs as a free agent in March 2008 but was cut coming out of camp. Finished his career with the Texans.