I can relate to Tyler Wilson's draft experience.
I think I was 7 or 8 years old. It was a trip to the dentist's office. It seemed like I waited for hours and it was a painful visit.
Team Wilson was expecting that Tyler would go somewhere in round two or early or midway through round three. They set what they thought was a safe time for Tyler to address the media on his draft experience. The former Razorback star was scheduled to meet with the media at 8:45 Friday night. That didn't happen. Tyler went to bed as an un-drafted quarterback.
He was the victim of what was a poor draft for quarterbacks. This was a big boy draft. Only three quarterbacks went in the first three rounds: EJ Manuel of Florida St., Geno Smith of West Virginia and Mike Glennon of N.C. State.; all bigger than Tyler and, many believe, have more potential than our former Landers Award winner.
Round four was a Tyler's round; a thrower's round. First pick of round four: Matt Barkley USC... 13th pick: Ryan Nassib of Syracuse... then finally, pick 15 of round four: Greenwood's Tyler Wilson to the Raiders.
Let's go back to the 2008 Landers Award Show. The finalists included other future NFL draft picks like Jarius Wright and Joe Adams, but it was Tyler who took home the big prize. He was the 2008 Landers award winner. I remember the post show discussions and questions. Was he big enough? Did he have what it takes to succeed in the SEC?
Tyler silenced his critics with a career changing performance midway through his sophomore season. An injury to starter Ryan Mallett threw Tyler into the mix at undefeated Auburn. Tyler came out firing. The numbers from that relief performance: 25-34 for 332 yards and four touchdowns. Two late interceptions put a damper on what was an eye-opening performance.
Tyler went from being the next Razorback quarterback to being the next star quarterback in Fayetteville.
His stats in 2011 were spectacular. He completed 63 percent of his passes for 3,638 yards. Tyler threw 24 touchdown passes and was intercepted only six times.
2012 was a roller coaster ride.
The drama of the coaching change, followed by a summer of high expectations that included a trip to ESPN and a season that included injury, frustrating losses and personal frustration. He went from being one of the top QB prospects to just one of the other guys in the QB draft pool.
The journey to the NFL ended around noon on Saturday when Oakland selected Tyler in the fourth round; the sixth QB selected in the pro draft. Not bad for a guy who some thought would have a hard time even being a starter on the major college level. Tyler is also the first former Arkansas high school quarterback to be drafted as a quarterback since Mike Cherry of Texarkana in 1997.
Tyler has reason to celebrate. He has a chance to live the dream.
I can't wait to see our former Landers Award winner take his first snap as an NFL quarterback.
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