Christian Wilkins almost landed his first fine from the NFL with the way he celebrated being picked in the NFL Draft on Thursday.
Wilkins was taken No. 13 overall by the Miami Dolphins. He was pretty pumped about being picked, because he came out looking for a jumping celebration with commissioner Roger Goodell. When Goodell didn’t meet him in the air, the former Clemson defensive lineman had to brace for a safe landing.
Roger Goodell's life just flashed before his eyes pic.twitter.com/6QDx9uiCdC
— Christian D'Andrea (@TrainIsland) April 26, 2019
That almost got real ugly, real quickly for Goodell. As it was, he had to take one heck of a hug from Wilkins.
If Goodell wakes up with some bruises on Friday, we’ll know where they came from.
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Over a century ago, Sir Francis Galton observed that over 700 participants guessing the weight of an ox at a county fair in England were near perfect in getting the exact weight when the group was averaged. More recently, James Surowiecki wrote a book on the concept of “Wisdom of the Crowds,” the idea that large groups of people are collectively smarter than an individual expert.
If you want a recent sports example that the concept works, look at individual predictions for the 2019 NCAA Tournament bracket. The Bracket Project tracked the individual predictions of 195 entries. If you took the average across all those entries, you would have been more accurate than all but six of the individual ones. That’s right, taking the collective wisdom outperformed all but 3 percent of the individual expert opinions.
I am bringing that same philosophy to this mock draft. I have reviewed 18 different mock drafts from national sites and experts (the full list and links to those mocks are at the end of this post). This mock draft presents that collective wisdom, by looking at both where players were being drafted on average, and what positions the experts were predicting teams would focus on.
One thing that can hurt a wisdom of the crowds exercise is if there is too much groupthink. However, in this case, there is plenty of variation and individual opinions. Sixty-four different players appeared in at least one of the mock drafts reviewed. So what is the consensus on how the first round will go? Let’s take a look at our mock draft.
1. Arizona Cardinals — Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Will Arizona really move on from Josh Rosen after one season? Right now, the consensus guess seems to be that Kyler Murray will in fact be the choice, and he will follow in Baker Mayfield’s footsteps in becoming the first overall pick at quarterback out of Lincoln Riley’s offense. Arizona has no incentive to show their Cards yet (pun intended) since they can influence trade offers both for the first pick and for Rosen by remaining publicly non-committal.
- 2019 NFL Draft, AJ Brown, Andre Dillard, Brian Burns, Byron Murphy, Christian Wilkins, Cody Ford, Dalton Risner, Daniel Jones, Deandre Baker, Devin Bush, Devin White, Dexter Lawrence, Drew Lock, Dwayne Haskins, Ed Oliver, Garrett Bradbury, Greedy Williams, Jawaan Taylor, Jeffery Simmons, Jerry Tillery, Jonah Williams, Josh Allen LB, Kyler Murray, Marquise Brown, Montez Sweat, Nick Bosa, Noah Fant, Quinnen Williams, Rashan Gary, TJ Hockenson
The emotions came pouring out of Christian Wilkins after his Clemson Tigers sealed their win over Alabama in the National Championship Game on Monday night.
The senior defensive tackle was shown crying on the sidelines, overcome by the satisfaction of winning another national title — and doing so in convincing fashion over the Crimson Tide.
I just love this “gentle” giant! #42 Christian Wilkins is a true scholar athlete—and he’s been a substitute teacher for the past year! pic.twitter.com/JEX5fD3YFS
— Ms. North (@MsSLNorth) January 8, 2019
Clemson went 55-4 over Wilkins’ four seasons, making the College Football Playoff all four times and winning two national championships. He returned to school rather than go to the NFL, all so he could win another championship trophy:
— What the Husk?!? (@402Hatch) January 8, 2019
Not too bad for a substitute teacher.
Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins is listed at 315 lbs. and now has a rushing touchdown to his name.
The Tigers drew up a running play for the big defensive tackle from the one-yard line, and it turned out that it worked to perfection. Plus, watching Wilkins get the ball and blast through the line of scrimmage to score is really a sight to behold.
Christian Wilkins is listed at 315 pounds.
Here he is scoring a rushing touchdown. pic.twitter.com/bNyLvbUJkZ
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 27, 2018
If you’re a Florida State defensive lineman, that’s probably not really something you want to see coming at you. From Clemson’s point of view, that’s probably part of the point.
Wilkins is an All-ACC defensive tackle in his own right, and he does some pretty cool stuff off the field as well. Now he’s scoring rushing touchdowns. Talk about a triple threat.
Many know Clemson defensive tackle Christian Wilkins for his exploits on the football field, but what he does away from it may come as a surprise.
Since the Tigers’ season ended with a loss to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, Wilkins has been spending time as a substitute teacher. He even subbed in teaching classes for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students, according to a story from ESPN’s Chris Low.
“It was fun, but took a lot out of me,” Wilkins told ESPN’s Low. “I felt like Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Kindergarten Cop’ with all those little kids. Talk about energy, but it was a real cool experience.”
Not surprisingly, Wilkins became something of a celebrity at James M. Brown Elementary School in Walhalla, South Carolina. It’s not hard to stand out when you’re 6-foot-4 and nearly 300 pounds as he is. He told ESPN that there were lots of teachers who are Clemson fans who came by to poke their heads into the room.
Wilkins graduated in just two and a half years with a degree in communications, which has allowed him time to teach. He has also filled in a few days at a South Carolina high school.
Wilkins finished his junior season with had 53 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and 8.5 tackles for loss. He earned First Team All-ACC honors and was a co-captain for the Tigers.
College football has many great players, but not all of them will make it into the NFL. Even fewer will become highly-touted first round prospects. Those who are will get a lot of attention and hype in 2017, from fans, analysts, and NFL people alike.
Here’s a list of eight players who, if all goes well, will likely be highly-touted first-round picks in next April’s NFL Draft.
1) Sam Darnold, QB, Redshirt Sophomore, USC
All eyes will be on the USC quarterback once the season gets underway, as he has a legitimate chance of being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 Draft if he has a good enough season and other things fall his way. It will be an interesting study in how he handles pressure; Darnold wasn’t even the starter at the beginning of last season, and even as he was lighting up the Pac-12, expectations weren’t as high as they will be now. This is a USC team with playoff aspirations and a player surrounded by lots of Heisman hype.
If Darnold proves he’s the real deal, he’ll easily be a top-five pick at minimum. Consider that he threw for 31 touchdowns and over 3,000 yards despite not even starting his first game until the end of September.
Of course, Darnold is only a sophomore. If things don’t work out the way he hopes in 2017, he can always stay in school for another season. He may choose to return for his junior season even if he does light it up this coming season.
2) Josh Rosen, QB, Junior, UCLA
Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware had a bizarre defense of teammate Christian Wilkins’ oddly sexual play in the Tigers’ playoff game against Ohio State on Saturday.
Wilkins was caught on video grabbing around the rear and genital area of Ohio State wide receiver Curtis Samuel during the game.
— Zen (@UnderGroundKnox) January 3, 2017
Wilkins said Wednesday that he apologized to Samuel to square things away.
Still, Wilkins faced criticism for the violation, which led Boulware to say the following in defense of his teammate:
Clemson's Ben Boulware has thoughts on people ripping Christian Wilkins for, uh, grabbing a handful in the Fiesta Bowl. pic.twitter.com/qC1DlDnHW2
— Brian Hamilton (@BrianHamiltonSI) January 4, 2017
Nothing like a little levity from Boulware to break up the monotony of a head-smashing football game.