With just three weeks remaining in the season, the playoffs are a longshot for the Las Vegas Raiders, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still plenty to watch for the rest of the year. One player who should be getting plenty of attention is first-round pick Tyree Wilson.
The Raiders drafted the physically gifted defensive end with the intent of developing him slowly behind Maxx Crosby and other veteran linemen. Circumstances however, forced the Raiders to give Wilson a more significant role early in the year, something that wasn’t ideal especially considering he missed much of the offseason program as he recovered from an injury suffered in college.
So far, the raw statistics from Wilson haven’t been great, but the Raiders coaches, particularly defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, are encouraged by the confidence he is gaining thanks to the work he has been putting in during practices.
“Part of confidence starts with getting reps, I think. Just get repetition,” the Raiders defensive coordinator said. “We talk about it all the time, self-confidence over self-esteem. Self-esteem, a lot of time is the talk, self-confidence comes from the preparation you put in, the work you put in. So, he’s constantly getting better at practice.
“Again, I can’t stress it enough. And I think it’s so important, especially in this game, that how you practice becomes game reality. We all talk about that, you’ve heard that, and in practice, between periods, the time before practice when he’s out there, he’s putting in the work and then they’re seeing the results. And couldn’t be more proud of him in terms of how he’s improved.”
This isn’t the first time that the work ethic of Wilson has been spoken about so positively. Raiders defensive line coach Rob Leonard recently discussed how Wilson was ‘humbled’ early on but never let up, praising his overall attitude, and that is a big positive for someone the Raiders hope can be a big player for them in the future.
One thing that the Raiders don’t have to worry about is Wilson putting in the necessary work to fulfill his vast potential. He has all of the physical tools to be a force in the NFL, and now he is learning everything else he needs in order to be successful.
Sometimes the numbers don’t match the work, but those in the building see Wilson’s improvement, and it is only a matter of time before that starts to show itself with some big-time games for the Raiders.