METAIRIE, La. -- Sit down and talk with Martez Wilson and one thing quickly darts ahead of all other thoughts.
He’s 100 percent confident in his abilities.
“I’m not even close to where I see myself,” Wilson said. “I see myself consistently every year down the road making plays. I ain’t going to say just sacks, but making plays in general. That’s what keeps you on the field. The more I get better, my pass rush is going to be nice.
“I see myself being a Hall of Famer one day. I’m the hardest on myself, harder than my coaches.”
In case you needed reminding, Wilson is a second-year defensive player who is transitioning from linebacker to defensive end under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Wilson (6-foot-4, 252 pounds) was expected to add youth and athleticism to a linebacker corps that was getting older and slower when he was drafted in 2011. He played more towards the end of the season and finished with 10 tackles and a sack.
But when Spagnuolo came in, he moved Wilson to defensive end. And while acting head coach Joe Vitt wouldn’t say the move is permanent, the youngster sounded as if he hopes it is.
“I say it helps my athleticism,” Wilson said. “They see I needed improvement rushing from the edge. Using my athletic ability, rushing from the edge, using my speed and I’m stronger than most tackles think as well.
“Doing that improved my athletic ability because now I can rush from the edge, rushing up the middle on guards and center and I can also rush from the left .And I can drop and cover. That just helps the team as a whole.”
Despite not being in pads, Vitt said the transition appears to be taking hold.
“He’s very comfortable in a three-point stance,” Vitt said. “He’s playing with better pad level. You can see he can naturally sink his hips, engage and get off a block. With all the zone pressures when you’re dropping a man into coverage, he may be the most advanced because he was a linebacker, so up to this point, great.”
Wilson’s move would also give the team an option at defensive end should Will Smith’s appeal of his pay-for-performance suspension not get reduced. Without Smith, the only defensive ends on the roster with experience are Turk McBride, Junior Galette and Cameron Jordan.
Greg Romeus spent the bulk of last season rehabbing from knee surgery. Wilson at the very least played in games a season ago, gaining confidence that has transitioned into a firm belief in himself this offseason.
“The more I kept playing, the more the game slowed down each game, the more I was able to understand and see my keys faster,” Wilson said. “The closer the season got to the end, things just started flowing. Now I know what it takes this year.”