Raiders nab edge rusher Tyree Wilson with 7th overall draft pick

The Las Vegas Raiders drafted Tyree Wilson with the 7th overall pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday night.

LAS VEGAS — The Las Vegas Raiders selected Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson with the seventh overall pick Thursday night in the NFL Draft.

Wilson is an explosive edge rusher who will complement Maxx Crosby with his elite size and massive wingspan and add to a Raiders defense that ranked 30th last season with 1.6 sacks per game. His length and lateral quickness certainly resemble Crosby’s talent, and will help cause havoc in backfields as a rushing game disruptor.

“I had a great (top) 30 visit there, so I was curious to see what they were going to do, and I’m excited that they picked me,” Wilson said during his introductory Zoom session with the media.

Wilson has the chance to make an immediate impact with 33-year-old Chandler Jones coming off a sub-par season that included a significant injury.

Wilson said he grew up watching Myles Garrett, and as he got older was watching Crosby become a disruptive force.

“(I) started taking bits and pieces from a lot of different pass rushers,” he said. “I’m excited to be able to join the team and learn from guys like him and Maxx to help me take my game to another level and help the team get to a Super Bowl.”

Wilson, who began his college career at Texas A&M before transferring in 2020, finished his senior campaign with seven sacks and nine quarterback hits in 2022 for the Red Raiders before a foot injury ended his season.

“I expect to be ready by training camp,” said the 6-foot-6, 275-pound behemoth, who also recorded 10 tackles for loss and 36 tackles overall. “It’s up to the staff at the Raiders to see what percent I am. I feel great, and I’m just trying to be as best as possible on the field.”

He’s already registered his first tackle as a draft pick, as he stepped on stage with an ear-to-ear grin and lifted NFL commissioner Roger Goodell off the floor as if he was a quarterback about to get slammed to the turf.

“You know, it was a lot of excitement but I also made a commitment last week that I was going to lift him up and I was like, ‘It’s your time, I’ve got to lift you up’ and I did it. But it was that excitement and commitment.”

Donning a shiny black suit emblazoned with red and blue flowers, the glitz and glamour dripped, reeking Las Vegas as he made his way to the stage with a diamond-encrusted necklace and “TW” emblem.

“I put in a lot of work to get to this point,” he added. “You only get this opportunity once, so I wanted to have a good suit that my family will remember and that I’ll remember.”

With Wilson, the Raiders impressively begin a quest to improve a defense that ranked 27th last season in average yardage allowed (365.6) and 26th in scoring average (24.6).

Per the Next Gen Stats draft model, Wilson has the sixth-highest chance to make a Pro Bowl in his first three seasons among edge defender prospects over the last decade (48%).