Draft Insider: Lions ‘Really Like’ All-American Stud Pass Rusher Early

Tyree Wilson

Getty Tyree Wilson answers questions during the 2023 NFL combine.

With just under two weeks to go until the 2023 NFL draft kicks off, the process is starting to come to a major head for the Detroit Lions in terms of final preparations.

Figuring out what the team could be angling to do can be hard work with all of the rumors and smokescreens that are percolating, but some interesting new facts have been revealed about Detroit’s potential direction.

ESPN draft insider Matt Miller recently put together a brand new update in which he presented rumors about every team. When it came to the Lions, there was a very interesting tidbit about a defender the team could appreciate near the top of the draft.

As Miller wrote, the Lions are looking at adding to their defensive line in the draft, perhaps fairly early on. That’s in spite of adding players in last year’s draft. The object of their early affection could be Tyree Wilson of Texas Tech, a player they like and may even have a high grade on.

“The Lions selected Aidan Hutchinson at No. 2 overall last year, but that won’t necessarily keep them from selecting another defensive end early in the 2023 draft. I’ve heard they really like Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech) and have a high grade on him. The Lions have spent considerable time and resources meeting with and working out pass-rushers this offseason, and they will be seeking more help on defense right out of the gate in Round 1. Wilson ranks No. 8 overall on my board and is the second-best edge rusher in the class. He’s a slight reach at No. 6 but could turn the Lions’ D-line into a serious strength,” Miller said in the piece.

Detroit’s defense is likely to bear the brunt of the team’s early work in the draft, considering the group finished 32nd overall last season. While they have some up-and-coming pieces that are exciting, the Lions could benefit from at least a few more elite additions to the room.

Whether the team considers cornerback or defensive line the biggest need remains to be seen, but if this rumor is to be believed, the line may indeed be the spot they are looking to boost the strongest in the draft.

Lions Defensive Line Could Use Boost

Hearing of Detroit’s potential interest in the lineman market during the draft is not a surprise, considering the fact that the Lions could want to boost up that position most even in spite of what they have on the roster.

Already, the Lions have what looks like a stout young group. Aidan Hutchinson posted a phenomenal 10.5 sacks as a rookie, and was named the Pepsi Zero Sugar NFL Rookie of the Year. In addition to him, edge James Houston made a late-season surge, collecting eight sacks. Alim McNeill joined the team in 2021 out of North Carolina State, and has been a solid player in the middle of the line.

Though that is the case, Detroit finished very poorly in run defense last season, having allowed 2,491 yards on the ground and over 146 per-game, which placed at 29th in the league. While the team collected 39 sacks on the year, there should be a goal to inch that total even higher in order to help the defensive backfield make a bigger impact.

There are plenty of top prospects the Lions could look at during the draft, including Jalen Carter and Calijah Kancey in the first-round, and also edge players like Wilson, Will Anderson Jr., Bryan Bresee, Nolan Smith, Myles Murphy and others.

Theoretically, and of those players could be solid bets to end up as Lions by the end of the weekend, especially with this story in mind.

Tyree Wilson’s College Stats & Highlights

Should the Lions not end up with either Jalen Carter or Will Anderson Jr., Wilson would not be a bad consolation prize for a team that could use a little more beef in the trenches and pass rush punch off the end.

After starting his career with Texas A&M and putting up 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks as a freshman, Wilson transferred to Texas Tech, where he came into his own the next three years, posting 15.5 sacks and 29 total tackles for the Red Raiders. He finished his college career with 121 tackles, 17 sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Wilson is gifted athletically with a 6’6″ frame and an ability to move around up front on a line to cause havoc for both passers and running backs. During the NFL combine, went viral for having a massive wingspan that measured 86′.

All of these fact could lead him to be a significant piece for his new team in the league, and may have helped the Lions fall for him ahead of the NFL draft.

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