We’re in the depths of the offseason here at The Falcoholic, and there has been little to nothing in the way of interesting news in ages. So, we’ll have to make some content of our own in the meantime. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be bringing you a new Player Profile series where we’ll take a look at each of the players on Atlanta’s roster. I’ll break down their measurables, past production, and try to project their 2020 season with the Falcons.
After taking a look at the projected starters, we now turn our attention to the depth on the Falcons’ roster. Today, I’ll be discussing CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson—a stalwart veteran who has been with Atlanta since 2016 and has provided depth on both the inside and outside.
CB Blidi Wreh-Wilson
Age: 30 (31 during 2020 season)
Contract: $887K cap hit in 2020, free agent in 2021
Career Production: 60 games played, 17 games started | 123 total tackles, 1.0 TFL, 1 FF | 24 PD, 1 INT | 63.9 career PFF grade
2019 Production: 14 games played, 2 games started | 25 total tackles, 13.8% missed tackle rate | 7 PD, 45.5% completion rate allowed, 82.4 passer rating allowed | 64.4 overall PFF grade
Previous Teams: Drafted in the 3rd round (#70 overall) by the Tennessee Titans (2013-2015), Atlanta Falcons (2016-present)
It’s unusual to have a depth player stick around on a roster for as long as Blidi Wreh-Wilson has stuck with the Falcons. Atlanta brought in Wreh-Wilson in late November of the 2016 season as additional depth after the loss of Desmond Trufant, and he’s been a fixture on the roster ever since. That’s impressive any way you slice it, but if anything, Wreh-Wilson has actually been under-utilized in his time in Atlanta.
Wreh-Wilson began his career as a third-round pick of the Titans in 2013. He played minimally in his rookie season, only to be thrust into a starting outside CB role in 2014—where he struggled mightily, posting a 38.8 PFF grade. Those difficulties seemed to put him in the doghouse in Tennessee, and he was released during final cuts prior to the 2016 season. He remained a free agent until he was added to the Falcons in late November, and he’s been in Atlanta ever since.
Wreh-Wilson has never been given a lot of opportunity to actually play in Atlanta, though he’s usually one of the first players up if injuries strike. He played less than 100 snaps on defense from 2016-2018, although Wreh-Wilson graded out quite favorably in limited action according to PFF: 71.7 on 65 snaps in 2017 and 90.1 (!!) on 30 snaps in 2018. Wreh-Wilson got his first real opportunity to start in Atlanta last season, appearing in 14 games and starting 2. He acquitted himself quite well in 324 total snaps, especially for a depth player: he allowed just a 45.5% completion rate, 82.4 passer rating, and posted a 64.4 overall PFF grade (about an average starter).
For reference, Wreh-Wilson graded out as a better CB than both Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield in 2019—although it’s important to note that he only played about 30% of the overall snaps. Playing like an average starter is quite valuable, and it’s smart for the Falcons to continue bringing Wreh-Wilson back—his less than $1M price tag is a bargain for his talents. I like the potential of both Oliver and Sheffield (and Terrell, for that matter), but if any of those players struggle mightily to start the season, I think the coaching staff should strongly consider letting Wreh-Wilson take on a larger role in the secondary.
Projection: Blidi Wreh-Wilson has been a primary depth player in the Falcons secondary since 2016, and will continue in that role in 2020. His combination of inside/outside versatility, good size and athleticism, and veteran experience have allowed him to step in and play like an average starter when called upon. If some of the Falcons’ young pieces struggle early, Dan Quinn should seriously consider giving Wreh-Wilson a chance to start—his play thus far shows that he’s earned it.