On Tuesday, the Green Bay Packers made a quiet addition to their 53-man roster. The Packers had an open spot on the roster after placing offensive tackle Caleb Jones on the Non-Football Injury list last week, and they have decided to fill it by signing a player off another team’s practice squad.
Incoming is linebacker Eric Wilson, who is in his sixth NFL season after playing college football at the University of Cincinnati. After going undrafted in 2017, Wilson signed with the Minnesota Vikings as a rookie free agent immediately after the draft. He spent the next four seasons in Minnesota, serving as a spot starter and a key special teams contributor for three years before taking over as a full-time starter for the 2020 season after Anthony Barr was injured.
In his 16 games in 2020 (15 starts), Wilson proved himself to be a capable coverage linebacker, recording three interceptions and eight pass breakups while posting 122 total tackles and three sacks. According to Pro Football Reference, Wilson allowed a passer rating of just 74.3 that season. Wilson actually started four games against the Packers in his Vikings career (each game in 2019 and 2020), recording 20 total tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a tackle for loss, and a hit on quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Last year, Wilson split time with the Philadelphia Eagles, playing seven games with each team. He pitched in significantly on defense in Philadelphia and even started in week one before playing almost exclusively as a special teamer in Houston. He then signed with the Saints in May and was cut at the end of training camp, but returned to the team’s practice squad for the first four weeks of the season.
Athletically, Wilson very much looks the part of a special teams ace. He is a bit undersized for a linebacker but showed exceptional movement skills that earned him a 9.48 RAS:
Eric Wilson went undrafted as a LB in the 2017 draft class. He scored a 9.48 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 82 out of 1561 LB from 1987 to 2017. https://t.co/uE9WlSpeTd #RAS pic.twitter.com/sCvKuEMeej— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 17, 2021
Since Krys Barnes landed on injured reserve following the Packers’ week one loss to the Vikings, the team has kept just three inside linebackers active for each game. With Wilson now in the fold, he should join Isaiah McDuffie as an emergency backup and may take Barnes’ place on a handful of the special teams units.