Like most quarterbacks in this year’s class, Tyler Wilson tumbled down the draft board. Excitement turned to anxiety and then to anger when day three rolled around and he still hadn’t been taken.
To clear his head, the former record-setting Arkansas quarterback ventured out to a local Walmart Supercenter.
And that’s when the Oakland Raiders called, creating a buzz amongst curious shoppers.
“I was fed up with watching so we just got out and then get the phone call there in Walmart, of all places, but that’s good being from Arkansas,” Wilson said, via the Log Cabin Democrat. “He’s standing right next to me and kind of hears the conversation a little bit. I kind felt like everybody in the store at that point had kind of figured out what’s going on. That was fun. We ended up getting out of there without too much harm and ended up getting back and celebrated with friends and family.”
The Raiders took Wilson with their fourth-round selection (112th overall) on Saturday, at least one round later than he anticipated going. He planned — and then subsequently cancelled — a draft party that included a large cake and live band entertainment.
Wilson, understandably, was let down by how things unfolded.
“It was tough. You could see the trend and the way the draft was going based on the needs that teams were taking. You could obviously see they weren’t taking quarterbacks in the first round,” Wilson said. “Then Thursday you see kind of the trend of the way things are going on Thursday — not headed in positive direction you know as far as quarterbacks.
“I think the harder thing would be to see a bunch of (quarterbacks) go, but not seeing any of them come off the board, you’re all sitting in the same boat. I knew the way it was going to do was it was going to be a little bit later than we all anticipated.”
In 2011, Wilson was regarded as a future No. 1 overall pick, before a down 2012 campaign torpedoed his stock. The 23-year-old threw for 3,387 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions last year as one of the lone bright spots for the 4-8 Razorbacks.
Nevertheless, the 6-foot-2 Wilson, hailed for his pocket presence and vertical accuracy, is just excited to settle in with his new team.
“Obviously, it’s been a long process, a long three days. You hope to get picked a littler sooner going into it,” Wilson said. “But the right situation, I think, is the most important part. And I definitely think I found that situation with Oakland, being in the situation they’re in quarterback-wise. I think I have a chance to go in there and compete and have a chance at playing sometime soon.”
Wilson didn’t go totally unnoticed this year, as ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper in January compared him to Hall of Famer Jim Kelly. While that assessment is extremely premature, his professional career is certainly off to an interesting start.