Raiders shock experts in first round—pair Tyree Wilson with Crosby

Raiders shock experts in first round—pair Tyree Wilson with Crosby

For Maxx Crosby and the Raiders, help is arriving

With the 7th pick in Thursday night’s 2023 NFL Draft, the Raiders are supplanting one of the league’s premier edge-rushers with a new sidekick: Tyree Wilson, the 6’6” defensive end out of Texas Tech.

Despite wrapping up 12.5 sacks last season, Crosby and the Raiders finished 2022 with the 3rd-fewest sacks in the NFL, leaving Crosby often performing as a one-man show on the defensive line. 

The Raiders are drafting Wilson fresh off of two of his most productive seasons, recording 14 sacks and 27.5 tackles for a loss in his final 23 games for the Red Raiders. 

Now, Wilson remains a Raider—but will swap out the Red and Black for the Silver and Black in Las Vegas. Wilson joins a team that desperately needs him to create an impact immediately. 

No team forced fewer turnovers in the NFL last season than the Raiders. For many of their team-defensive statistics, the Raiders usually found themselves ranking in the bottom-five. 

Tyree Wilson Teaming up with Maxx Crosby

Video by Sean Zittel, Vegas Sports Today

“I watch Maxx,” said Wilson on his new star teammate. 

“Been watching Maxx for awhile. He’s a great pass rusher—dominant. A disruptive player who is relentless all over the field. That’s what I pattern my game after; be relentless and disruptive.” 

Wilson, coming off a right-foot fracture that kept him out of the NFL Draft Combine, didn’t hesitate in applying pressure to his foot in picking commissioner Roger Goodell up and off of his feet.

“There was a lot of excitement,” said Wilson on lifting Goodell up. “I made the commitment a week ago that I was going to lift him up—and I did.”

The Raiders, entering their 4th season in Las Vegas since moving from Oakland, are still waiting to host (and win) their first-ever home playoff game at Allegiant Stadium. 

The offensive side of the ball carries plenty of talent for the Raiders, after acquiring quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason and pairing him with first-team All-Pro running back Josh Jacobs and first-team All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams. 

Wilson, Crosby and the defense must compliment the offense if head coach Josh McDaniels is going to turn things around in year 2. 

“The best coverage scheme is usually a good pass rush,” said Champ Kelly, assistant general manager of the Raiders. 

“We want to be able to develop a front that comes in waves,” said general manager Dave Ziegler, just a few hours after drafting Wilson. 

“I think that’s important in this day and age with quarterbacks that move around. Herbert can move around, Russell Wilson can move around, Pat (Mahomes) can move…being able to have guys that can pressure the quarterback and disrupt in several different phases is very valuable.” 

The Raiders, with a win-now offense, need Wilson to be disruptive sooner, rather than later once the 2023 season begins.