Comps – Low/Medium/High
Jeremy Cash (Low) – Clayton Fejedelem (Medium) – Delano Hill (High)
A tackling marvel, Wingard likely fails to crack a starting lineup as a pro due to his inability to play two deep effectively. He’ll be a special teams ace no doubt, and a surefire guy for the 53-man roster. Teams may find it more intriguing to ask him to put on pounds and make a move to linebacker, although he will need to improve his take-on ability to play the position. Wingard’s lateral movements can be chalked up as jump cuts, but he does a great job of incorporating his hands with them to dodge offensive linemen. He will have more trouble avoiding such engagements with NFL guys, but it has allowed him to keep clear of the trash pile during his career in Laramie. Focusing in on the positives to his game, Wingard’s tackling technique and accuracy is a joy to watch as an evaluator. He combines a powerful upper body that can rip down runners with an uncanny feel for leveraging. There are very few plays in which he ends up tackling high. In gang tackle situations he would rather go low and wipe out the legs of the target than to just play the pileup. In the open field he finds the hips and thighs of ball-carriers and sprints through them. If he is unable to knock his man over, he wraps on tight and twists them until help arrives or he can trip up the opponent. It’s a mixture of textbook tackling and functional on-field implementation. Wingard’s experience playing a variety of roles for the Cowboys will make some believe he can do it as a pro, but he’s going to be working for a narrow role as a pro. He’s not even reliable as a zone defender in the intermediate, and will be a mismatch against tight ends who weigh more than 240 pounds. His blitzing ability isn’t rare, considering he doesn’t have the desired closing speed for it, but Wingard has a few tricks for beating blockers on his way in. Overall, there is no doubt that his production and college success is indicative of his talent in run defense. This is shown in the way he handles all aspects of the run game, but he’s not the testing type who will rise up boards with a good 40 or agility testing.
Two deep experience with the Cowboys. Good at halting his momentum and preparing to redirect. Not a good enough athlete to be put on an island. Needs time to build up his speed; not an instant accelerator. No backpedal depth; incredibly stiff when working in man. Takes time to arrive when coming up to play the run; will allow 3-4 yards more than allowed as a result of iffy play speed. Hips aren’t fluid enough to turn and run upfield with receivers. Does not do well changing direction. Overall limitations with speed, agility, and reaction ability in coverage may prevent him from seeing the field as a pro. Falls off of the back hip when working the break point. Abysmal recovery ability once he is beaten downfield. Needs to play outside of himself at a higher level; does not expand his tackling radius or play range.
Physically imposing tackler who can bring down anyone. Sprint and fill homing missile in the hole. Wins the leverage battle and gets to the knees of the runner without going in blind. Accuracy in short yardage situations is pro-ready. Good wrap and twist when he hits low. Can overblow his initial angle and miss against a good cutback; not a surefire open field tackler. Got sloppier as the game dragged on against Missouri, sliding off of receivers and attempting arm tackles. Gang tackler mentality. Outstanding production backs up above average tackling ability for a college safety. Latch and drag-down needs some work when taking abnormal angles; has issues when coming in sideways. Always the low man. Will get lower half twisted up by more agile backs as a pro; can’t recover late. Kills QBs on free shots.
Anticipatory mover who see things before they happen. Built for playing in the box and triggering in run defense. Mental acuity is on display when deciphering the play. Not big enough to convert to linebacker and play where his mindset works best. Rarely saw success in coverage; limited experience honing in on the pass game. Blitzed off the edge frequently, and seems decent with redirecting his path to deal with blockers. Smarts in the run game are ready to roll day one, but will need to improve positioning a ton to handle rest of the game. Has shown a bit of a swim move as a blitzer that can succeed if timed right. Maniacal hitter against blockers when he’s pissed off. Combination of patience and aggression is exactly what an NFL team needs; knows when to roll his dice.
Got put on his butt by Missouri’s Kendall Blanton on a nickel corner snap; can get beat up on by tight ends. Always a step late when coming down to interfere with routes. Doesn’t arrive at the catch point in time to stop the reception. Plays the receiver instead of the ball; does not look for interceptions. Spots the release and gets his hands up when working at the line of scrimmage. Tries to read the quarterback’s eyes, but doesn’t always turn it into coverage success. Too slow to meet guys at the catch point and disrupt the ball. Won’t be making plays with the ball in the air. Man coverage non-factor; zone coverage liability. Hands are an unknown commodity based on the tape watched.
Avoids big punches from linemen by working laterally. Patient waiting behind his front seven; won’t overcommit early and allow big plays. Adjusts angle to compensate for his teammates; will back off if the cavalry has already arrived up front. Gets hand extension to avoid blockers. Fights to keep chest clean and stay on the path. Would rather slide around and give up position instead of centering with blocker to wait for ball’s arrival. Mind is always on getting to the runner. Will need to be more measured in the steps he takes as an open-field tackler. Often times reliant on having teammates force ball-carriers into his range. Excellent swipe move when engaging blockers rarely fails him. Does a great job of squaring up with his target in the box.