Patriots select Illinois safety Tavon Wilson in second round

FOXBOROUGH — With the Patriots’ third pick of the 2012 NFL draft, and first pick of the second round, the team selected Illinois safety Tavon Wilson.

Wilson, selected No. 48 overall, now joins fellow defensive rookies Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower as the Patriots seek to revamp their 31st-ranked defense.

The Patriots have one more second-round pick remaining at No. 62.

Wilson is a 6-foot free safety that was projected to be picked in the sixth or seventh round. He runs a 4.52 40-yard dash. He’s a converted cornerback, giving the Patriots some versatility in the secondary.


In his career, he has tallied 214 tackles (141 solo), 12.5 tackles for loss, 4 forced fumbles, 22 passes defensed, and 3 interceptions.

Among his accomplishments, he was honorable mention in the Big 10 in 2010 and 2011. In his senior year, he started all 13 games for the Fighting Illini, recording 81 tackles (51 solo), 7 passes defensed, and an interception.

The National Football Post’s scouting report says Wilson has natural power “but his lacking closing gear shows up in both the run and pass game.”

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