The Las Vegas Raiders are hard at work at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine and have already met with a litany of players. Most of the focus is on the quarterback right now. The team only has one under contract in Chase Garbers and there’s a very strong possibility the team will draft a quarterback at some point.
However, the Raiders have plenty of other needs all over the roster. The team has two pricey pass rushers under contract in Chandler Jones and Maxx Crosby but only the latter made an impact last season. Las Vegas won’t be able to get off of Jones’ contract until 2024 but that doesn’t mean the team can’t find his eventual replacement. The Raiders were 30th in the NFL in sacks last season so it doesn’t hurt to add more players who can rush the passer.
Texas Tech defensive end Tyree Wilson is one of the most intriguing pass rushers in the draft due to his elite athletic traits. He revealed that he made a pitch to the Raiders about him teaming up with Crosby.
“It’s like I told the Raiders’ staff … if I get to join Maxx Crosby, it’d be two great pass rushers on the field,” Wilson said during media available at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Where Is Wilson Projected to Go in the Draft?
If the Raiders want to draft Wilson, they’ll have to forget about drafting a quarterback with their first-round pick. He’s going to be drafted in the top half of the first round and there’s a good chance he’ll be a top-10 pick. In a recent mock draft from ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., Wilson is selected by the Houston Texans with the No. 12 pick. That’s lower than he’s going in other mock drafts.
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com has Wilson getting drafted by the Seattle Seahawks at No. 5. If the Raiders believe that could happen, they’d have to trade up to get him. Pro Football Focus has him falling to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 8. It’s safe to say that the Texas Tech star won’t be making it to the Raiders’ second-round pick.
Should Raiders Go Offensive or Defense With No. 7 Pick?
There’s bound to be much debate in the coming weeks and months regarding what the Raiders should do with their No. 7 pick. Quarterback is the biggest need on the team and there are some strong quarterback prospects in this year’s class. Having to wait until No. 7 will make it difficult for the Raiders to feel comfortable. There are six teams that will get a shot at a quarterback before them. There are only four quarterback prospects who are expected to go in the first round. There’s a possibility that all of them are gone by the time the Raiders select.
Las Vegas may need to trade up to secure a quarterback. If there aren’t any that the team is in love with, the next move should be to target defensive players. Many mock drafts have the Raiders taking an offensive lineman with the No. 7 pick but there are much more pressing needs on defense. Wilson would certainly fill the need for pass rush help and his upside has to be intriguing. The Raiders could also use the pick on a cornerback, which might be the team’s second biggest need behind quarterback.