With Chandler Jones and Maxx Crosby under contract, defensive end wasn’t the most pressing need for the Las Vegas Raiders this year. However, despite having two Pro Bowl pass rushers, the team only had 27 sacks last season, which was the third worst in the NFL. Jones is getting long in the tooth and suffered a significant injury last season so it’s logical why the team used the No. 7 pick to select Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson.
With big named prospects like Jalen Carter and Christian Gonzalez on the board, some fans were disappointed with the Wilson selection. Others were much higher on the pick. Miami Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey quickly took note of the fact that the Raiders are pairing Wilson with Crosby. He praised the move and noted that things could get “scary.”
Crosby has cemented himself as one of the five best defensive ends in the NFL. He’s also only 25 years old. Allowing Wilson to grow and develop alongside an elite young pass rusher like Crosby should be a recipe for success. If Wilson hits, the Raiders will not have to worry about pass rush being an issue for a long time. There are still major needs that need to be addressed but it’s easy to understand the logic behind drafting Wilson.
Wilson Injured but Expects to Be Ready by Training Camp
There’s a chance Wilson would’ve been selected earlier than No. 7 had he not been recovering from an injury. He suffered a season-ending foot injury in November that required surgery and he has yet to fully recover. Fortunately, he’s expecting to be ready to go when training camp starts.
“I expect to be ready by training camp,” Wilson said during his April 27 media availability. “It’s up to the staff at the Raiders to see what percent I am. I feel great, and I’m just trying to be as best as possible on the field.”
It sounds like Wilson will likely not be on the field for much of the Raiders’ offseason workouts prior to training camp but the team isn’t worried. General manager Dave Ziegler made that fact clear.
“We had him here for a visit and we felt comfortable with where he is medically,” Ziegler said. “It made sense for us.”
Raiders Were Excited Wilson Fell
There was speculation that Wilson may end up being the first edge rusher taken in the draft above Alabama’s Will Anderson. That didn’t end up being the case, which is a fact the Raiders were excited about.
“Weren’t sure whether (Wilson) was going to be there or not,” Ziegler said. “We had a group of players that we liked in that area. We were very excited when we saw he was still there.”
The Raiders were a team Wilson was hoping to get drafted by and Crosby was a big reason for that. He’s been watching the Pro Bowler closely since he entered the NFL and models his game after Crosby.
“I’ve watched Maxx. I’ve been watching him for a while,” Wilson said. “He’s a great pass rusher, dominant and a disruptive player that’s going to be relentless all over the field. That’s what I try to have my game at, be relentless and disruptive.”