Wilson, who was drafted with the 48th pick Friday, had a difficult childhood. His father was murdered when he was one, and his mother drowned at a pool party when he was 12. His grandmother, Darlene Williams, took in Wilson when he was in the sixth grade.
"It was rough," Wilson said. "My hat goes off to my grandmother because she is a very strong woman to take me and my sister in, and just raise us the best way we can to try to give us everything she possibly could. Now, I'm very glad I'll be able to give her some of those same things that she gave me."
The Illinois product was a relative unknown for a second-round pick — he wasn't even invited to the combine — and he's expected to add depth across the board in the Patriots' secondary. But he'll certainly be able to repay his grandmother. Last year's 48th pick, Stefan Wisniewski, signed a four-year deal worth roughly $4.1 million.
Wilson has used his childhood experience as a motivational tool, and he said he can use that to his advantage with the Patriots.
"Most definitely, everybody has to overcome adversity," Wilson said. "I overcame a lot of things in my life, and that's the reason why I'm here today, and some of the reasons why I am the person I am today. I never get too high or too low. I just keep working all the time, take everything one day at a time. My hat goes off to my grandmother for that. She's a very strong woman."