DAVIE, Fla. -- It has been a rocky, rapid descent for Isaiah Wilson, a right tackle selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans who just a year later was essentially given away in Monday's agreed-upon trade to the Miami Dolphins for a swap of seventh-round picks.
Wilson, the No. 29 pick, had more off-the-field issues than he did offensive snaps in 2020, so the Titans cut their losses. Those issues included a couple of run-ins with the law and Titans general manager Jon Robinson saying Wilson needs to make "a determination on whether he wants to do what it takes to play pro football."
For the Dolphins, the trade for Wilson is the ultimate low-risk transaction. If it works, Miami could emerge with a starting-caliber right tackle or guard who is still on his rookie deal. If it doesn't work out, Miami gets rid of Wilson with the primary cost being just shy of $4 million guaranteed.
If Wilson, 22, passes a physical, he will get his second and maybe last chance to salvage his NFL career. Dolphins coach Brian Flores and general manager Chris Grier are giving him a fresh start, taking on the challenge with hopes that Wilson will follow their plan to revitalize his career. All of this is dependent on Wilson's desire to commit to the discipline needed to be a successful NFL player.
The Dolphins are an ideal landing spot for Wilson because of their connections to the 6-foot-6, 350-pound right tackle. Two stand out:
Flores has known Wilson for years -- both are New York City natives who attended Brooklyn's Poly Prep Country Day School. The hope is that the connection will help the Dolphins reach Wilson in a way the Titans were not able to for a variety of reasons.
Dolphins guard Solomon Kindley played with Wilson at the University of Georgia. Kindley, who at 23 is a year older than Wilson, could show him the ropes.
Miami is banking on these connections to guide Wilson in the right direction. The party temptations, glitz, glamour and attention will only increase with the move to Miami, so Wilson must be willing to focus on himself for the better.
The Dolphins have made a habit of these low-risk, second-chance opportunities in the Flores era, such as signing running back Mark Walton, defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche and wide receiver Antonio Callaway and trading for rookie wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. Miami struck out and quickly moved on from the first three players; Bowden has been an early success so far.
Although Wilson didn't get to show it in Tennessee because of his off-field issues, he has talent. A five-star recruit and two-year starter at Georgia, he is a burly, physical, people-moving right tackle when his motor is revving. Miami can dream about a right side of the offensive line with Wilson at right tackle and Robert Hunt (6-6, 323) at right guard -- 673 pounds of power opening up running lanes.
But Wilson, for now, has to start at the bottom and work himself up, proving trustworthy off the field, to make this fresh start in Miami work.
It's a low-risk move for the Dolphins, but the pressure couldn't be any higher for Wilson.