Rookie Spotlight: Roman Wilson, Michigan
Height: 5-10 1/2″
Hands: 9 1/8″
Arm: 30 1/4″
Age: 22.5 – (6/19/01)
40-yard dash: 4.43 (projected)
NFL Play-Style Comparison: Amon-Ra St. Brown Lite
Draft Grade: Late 3rd-Round
Breakout Age: 22 (Senior)
Offensive Market Share Metrics (Final Season)
Receiving Yards: 25%
Receiving TDs: 50%
High School: St. Louis (Honolulu, Hawaii)
As a high school prospect: Class of 2020; 4-star
College Attended: Michigan
– Ability to create multiple yards of separation on shallow outs and whip routes
– Strong Hands focused catcher
– Has a 3rd gear after the catch that can eliminate the defender’s angles
– 38 of 48 receptions were for 1st downs in 2023
– established route tree, although he has an affinity for the sideline.
– proficient in settling in the open valleys against zone defense
– showed growth in alignment flexibility, dropping from 90% slot snaps to 68% in 2023.
– lacks the suddenness you get from polished route runners
– finished with five or more receptions in just 5 of 44 career games at Michigan
– may struggle at times against man defense and creating separation with creativity
– his frame lacks upper body density that you would like to see
– liability in the run-blocking game, but will get in front of the defender and fight
Growing up in Hawaii wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, Wilson lived on the island of Maui, while attending high school on the island of Oahu.. yes, Roman Wilson flew to school every day in ninth grade. He won the state championship in the 100-meter dash, finishing with a career-best of 10.68 seconds. Wilson attended The Opening in 2019 where he won the ‘Fastest Man’ award with a 4.37 laser 40-yard dash. After visiting UCLA, CAL, and Oregon, Wilson visited Ann Arbor and felt at home, where he would eventually earn All-Big Ten 2nd team honors and tally nearly 1,900 all-purpose yards.
Wilson is a different wide receiver in the sense that he isn’t your prototypical alpha receiver, he isn’t your standard miniature slot target magnet, nor is he a big-bodied red zone target, heck he doesn’t even fit the new age “archetype”, while weighing around 190-lbs. Wilson played 44 games at Michigan but was only allowed to show what upside he could bring to the boxscore in five career games in which he finished with 5 or more receptions, scoring multiple touchdowns or surpassing 100 yards. He has what it takes to become a dynamic No. 2 in an NFL offense during his Rookie campaign. Traits to morph into a dynamic slot receiver, Wilson is on the slighter side of upper body strength, but has some of the strongest hands in the class to boot. I see multiple ways Roman Wilson can succeed in the NFL, although a best comparable is tough, he shows traits similar to Jaxon Smith-Njigba in his gait, as well as the ball skills and route running ability of an Amon-Ra St. Brown.
Roman Wilson will rise up draft boards in Mobile, causing him to be discussed in the late 2nd round/early 3rd round of Fantasy Rookie Drafts. Wilson possesses the ability to become a thoroughbred for any offense in year 1, his comparables are tough for a Fantasy Outlook, but another player that entered the NFL at age 23, as a 3rd round pick is Tyler Lockett, Lockett ran a 4.40 forty yard dash and he entered the NFL running around 65% of snaps from the slot, sound familiar? Lockett finished third on that Seahawks team in yards and 2nd in receptions behind Doug Baldwin. Over Lockett’s career, he finished between WR55 and WR 12 in fantasy points per game. I fully expect Roman Wilson to make the leap to the NFL, similar to what he did against Penn State in 2021, scoring two touchdowns on three receptions against now Pittsburgh Steeler Joey Porter Jr.