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VOL. 44 | NO. 38 | Friday, September 18, 2020

Is Wilson another first-round mistake for Titans?

Wilson could join Pacman, VY, Britt

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Rookie Isaiah Wilson, the Titans’ first-round pick, has made more noise off the field than on so far.

-- Photo By Mark Humphrey, | Ap

The happy-happy, joy-joy of Jadeveon Clowney signing with the Tennessee Titans last week was rudely interrupted Saturday morning with the news that first-round pick Isaiah Wilson had been arrested on a DUI charge.

That would be bad enough, but it’s already the second time before the regular season that Wilson, the 29th overall pick in the 2020 draft, has found himself involved with the law.

Last month, Wilson was cited with a trespassing warning for being on the Tennessee State campus when he was supposed to be social distancing not socializing.

The latest matter does not paint a flattering picture for the 21-year-old rookie. The report released by the Metro Nashville Police contained a witness stating Wilson was at the intersection of 25th Avenue and Charlotte Avenue doing “donuts” in the intersection in his Dodge Challenger. That’s when he apparently lost control of the car and hit a concrete wall shortly before midnight.

With that, Wilson is fortunate that he was uninjured and is only facing a DUI charge.

But the most troubling part of what took place Friday night/Saturday morning was an Instagram post attributed to Wilson that was later deleted, but survives in numerous screen shots being passed around on social media.

It was a photo of Wilson in his Titans uniform and it stated, “Honestly, I hate life. I’m f- - -ing up. I’m making mistakes. I’m not myself.”

Isaiah Wilson during his playing days at Georgia, where he found far greater success than he has so far for the Titans. He could learn a thing or two from fellow lineman Taylor Lewan, who has grown from immature hothead to team leader.

-- Photo By John Adams | Ap

Those are words no one would want to hear from a young man who should have the world by the proverbial tail as he begins life as a professional football player. This is not some fringe player hanging on or trying to stay on a roster. This is a guy the Titans are counting on to become a starter and be a key component on their offensive line for years to come.

In Wilson’s first interview (via Zoom) with the media after the Titans drafted him, he came across as very likable, a jovial giant if you will, showing off plenty of personality and saying the right things about wanting to work hard and become a solid NFL player.

Since then, though, his path has been rocky. Not only are there now two incidents before he has played an NFL game, but he also is on the Covid-19 Reserve list for the second time in four weeks.

During camp, it appeared that Wilson wasn’t in the greatest playing shape. He is expected to eventually be a starter – perhaps before the year is over. But when right tackle Dennis Kelly missed a few days in camp, it was telling that journeyman Ty Sambrailo stepped in with the first team, not their prized rookie draft pick.

Maybe it is just a bout of immaturity. Wilson wouldn’t be the first 21-year-old or NFL player to make poor decisions.

But the Titans need to tread carefully here. They have had first-round knuckleheads in the past whose careers unraveled in Nashville because of off-the-field problems.

Pacman Jones was a trouble magnet from the get-go, and he seemed to find discord and chaos at every turn until the NFL suspended him for an entire year in 2007. Jones – still unwilling to learn his lesson – wound up in a strip club the night before his hearing with Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Vince Young had a strange incident in which police looked for him, concerned about his whereabouts in 2008, and it wound up foreshadowing his 2010 meltdown when he angrily tossed his shoulder pads into the stands and would never play for the Titans again.

Also, during that same general timeframe, Kenny Britt – yet another first-round pick – was involved in a string of incidents that led to some arrests and plenty of face palms and head scratching by Titans management and security at the time.

Maybe in time, Wilson will get his act together, grow up and conquer any demons that might be bothering him. Don’t forget that Taylor Lewan, who is in the very same offensive line room as Wilson, had a bit of a checkered beginning with the Titans, but eventually grew and now is regarded as one of the club’s leaders.

Perhaps it is time for someone like Lewan, or other line leaders like Ben Jones, Rodger Saffold and Kelly, to reach out and take Wilson under their wing.

And for the Titans coaches and management to make sure they take the right road in disciplining and mentoring Wilson over this latest misstep.

While Friday night’s incident is the type of phone call NFL general managers and coaches dread, maybe it can serve as Wilson’s wake-up call.

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