The Las Vegas Raiders spent their first-round draft pick on defensive end Tyree Wilson, a raw, but promising pass rusher with elite physical traits. While extremely talented, he was viewed as a bit of a project and he missed much of the offseason workouts and training camp recovering from an injury he sustained in college.
That certainly put Wilson behind the eight ball, and things weren’t made easier for the Raiders as veteran pass rusher Chandler Jones is away from the team on the non-football illness list. Ideally the Wilson would be able to take on a larger role, but he has made little impact through three weeks so far as he still has much to learn.
Raiders defensive coordinator Patrick Graham recently spoke on this in a press conference. Graham believes Wilson still has to get acclimated to the NFL as a whole and the different looks he is going to see, via Hondo S. Carpenter of Sports Illustrated:
“The one thing for Tyree, just keep getting acclimated to the league in terms of getting familiar with the different sets he’s going to see, the different looks he’s going to get from the offense, just getting familiar with that. And then just working on his own craft, whether it’s in the running game or passing game and improving that. And then for most young players, just improving their strength and their endurance throughout the season. It’s just getting used to NFL football, it’s just a different animal.”
The NFL is a whole different game from college and most players learn that very quickly. It takes time to get used to the speed as well as the different concepts and responsibilities. It is why the offseason program is so important, but due to injury Wilson missed out on some real learning opportunities and just getting reps in overall.
It is important to be patient with the rookie however as it has only been three weeks and there is still plenty of time for him to grow and figure things out. He has the physical tools, but simply needs to learn the other nuances to really take his game to another level.
Thankfully he has the ideal player to learn from in Maxx Crosby and the coaching staff is surely dedicated to getting the best out of him. In due time, Wilson will have every opportunity to be a contributor for the Raiders that everyone hopes he will be.