Raiders Rumors: Las Vegas A Potential Trade Candidate For DT Christian Wilkins?
Christian Wilkins, Dolphins, Raiders
Dec 24, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins (94) looks on against the Dallas Cowboys during the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders’ defense improved under head coach Antonio Pierce last season, but there is still plenty of room to grow overall. One area the team could improve is the interior of its defensive line.

Bilal Nichols and John Jenkins started every game at defensive tackle for the Raiders, and while both were solid overall, they didn’t provide much in terms of pressuring the quarterback and getting in the backfield. Perhaps a trade could provide an answer to that problem.

Dallas Robinson of Pro Football Network recently spoke about the Miami Dolphins’ dilemma with defensive tackle Christian Wilkins. He believes they can’t afford to lose him for nothing and could franchise him and then explore a trade and views the Raiders as a team that should be willing to jump in and make an offer for the talented defensive tackle via Ezekiel Trezevant IV of Sports Illustrated:

“The Raiders should be willing to look into a Wilkins acquisition, which would allow Antonio Pierce and Co. to supplement a defense that rapidly improved over the second half of the 2023 season.

“Wilkins, who played more snaps than any DT last year, might be a perfect fit alongside Maxx Crosby, who’s topped 900 snaps in four consecutive campaigns.”

“Las Vegas could offer the 42nd overall pick in exchange for Wilkins,” Robinson said. The Dolphins, who would receive just a 2025 third-round compensatory selection if Wilkins departed as a free agent, would likely accept.”

As noted, Wilkins played more defensive snaps than any other defensive tackle last season which is something that will definitely stand out and fit right in next to Maxx Crosby. Additionally, Wilkins’ nine sacks, 23 quarterback hits and 10 tackles for loss are all more than the Raiders’ two starters combined.

A second-round pick for a talent of Wilkins’ level would be a price to pay, and the Raiders would then have to extend him, but Wilkins has proven to be one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL and could greatly boost the Raiders defense to a new level. At the very least it is a move the team should strongly consider as they plan on making a run to the postseason in 2024.

Raiders exploring trading up in first round of 2024 NFL Draft

The Raiders have already been rumored to be a team to watch going into the NFL Draft, especially in terms of moving up in the first round. Initially, it was believed that the team was looking to move into the top 3, but that may not necessarily be the case.

Recent reports stated that the Raiders have explored the possibility of moving into the 5-7 range of the draft, which likely wouldn’t net them that franchise quarterback they were looking for but could bring in a major contributor at a premium position.