Atlanta Falcons Potential First Round Pick: Christian Wilkins

Atlanta Falcons, Christian Wilkins (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons, Christian Wilkins (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons, Christian Wilkins (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /


The biggest strength that Christian Wilkins has, is his interior pass rushing ability. Despite the fact that he has yet to put up huge sack totals, Wilkins is very disruptive on the interior. He uses great leverage and almost always gets his pad level lower than his opponent. He also uses forceful hand movements to keep blockers from grasping him. Despite not having the quickest first step, Wilkins has good snap timing and a quick twitch ability to get out of his stance. He is also unusually flexible for an interior lineman, possessing the ability to dip around the edge.

As a run defender, Christian Wilkins has rare agility and pursuit ability. He is able to flow down the line of scrimmage and chase down ball carriers. He also has the ability to work his way through gaps and get into the backfield using technique. Christian possesses great agility and is able to change direction better than most men his size. He is adept at getting off blocks, just as a ball carrier comes into his space.

Christian Wilkins has a very active motor. He hustles at all times. He is also one of the better linemen in recent years at batting down passes at the line of scrimmage when he is unable to get to the quarterback. With his agility and quickness, Wilkins is able to drop into coverage allowing a defensive coordinator to vary his zone blitz schemes. He also posses terrific character. Christian is very intelligent and is a natural leader in the locker room. He will be a player that a team is comfortable having speak to the media.

Wilkins is also versatile, having the ability to play defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense or defense end in a 3-4 defense. He even has the ability to play some 4-3 defensive end on early downs and obvious running situations. Lance Zierlein of compares Christian Wilkins to B.J Hill. Hill had a solid rookie season for the New York Giants last year. Take a look at Lance Zierlein’s scouting report of Christian Wilkins by clicking here.


Christian Wilkins lacks ideal length for a defensive lineman. He does not get great extension away from offensive linemen, instead relying on leverage and hand movements to disengage. This could be a problem when matched against linemen that do have long arms. Christian Wilkins doesn’t posses great strength, a quality he will need to improve if he is to be a dominant player at the NFL level. Wilkins will need to play with alongside elite defensive tackle until he learns to beat double teams better.

Christian Wilkins needs to be quicker when using his pass rush counter moves. He is often hesitant, causing him to be just tardy on many sack attempts. Wilkins is also known for missing some tackles in the run game, when he doesn’t have the ball carrier directly in front of him. The Draft Network analysts Kyle Crabbs, Jon Ledyard and Joe Marino offer this through Christian Wilkins scouting report. Joe Marino summarized Wilkins attributes in this way:

"Wilkins projects favorably to a three-technique role in a 4-3 defense where his leverage, burst, hand technique and flexibility can be used in a penetration-style role. With that said, he isn’t limited to that role and can function in a variety of techniques while offering playmaking upside against the run and pass. Wilkins does have some limitations because he doesn’t play with great extension and his processing skills can stand to improve. Wilkins has played in nearly 60 college games and should be able to step in right away as an impact starter. His football character and intangibles make him a culture-changing addition to an NFL locker room."

Pro Football Focus breaks down Christian Wilkins in their film room via their YouTube channel: