As the days started to creep by, a sneaking suspicion started to grow among Bruin fans that UCLA would go through the entire three-day event without having a single player drafted to the NFL. As the final picks were announced, that possibility began to look like a probability that UCLA’s 6-year streak of having players drafted to the NFL would finally come to an end.
So, it was a big sigh of relief to see that, with the final pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Arizona Cardinals selected tight end Caleb Wilson, making the new Mr. Irrelevant the first and only Bruin drafted this year.
Draft consensus seemed to settle on Wilson being drafted in the 7th round, with a host of places, including NFL.com’s own draft profile, had him as a possible undrafted free agent. Wilson had one of the most prolific seasons from a Pac-12 tight end in recent memory, making 60 catches for 965 yards and 4 touchdowns in his junior season before declaring for the draft, and becoming a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. At the same time, scouts found plenty of negatives with Wilson, including his lack of blocking ability (something that he, at the very least, did manage to improve on last year) and subpar ball skills that would make him more of a specialized option than anything.
That said, Wilson should get the chance to flourish in Kliff Kingsbury’s system in Arizona. Despite the Cardinals choosing to go with Kyler Murray rather than Wilson’s old teammate in Josh Rosen, he should be able to become an intermediate weapon in the passing game, especially with the seeming focus on offensive playmakers that the Cardinals had in this draft to go along with already-existing guys like Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson, and Christian Kirk. A cursory glance at the current tight ends on the Cardinals’ roster paints a picture that would give Wilson plenty of opportunity to make the team out of training camp.
Congratulations to Caleb Wilson on realizing your dream and hearing your name called in the NFL Draft!