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Film room: Breaking down Tyree Wilson; the good, the bad and the ugly

Diving into the No. 7 overall pick’s performance thus far

Green Bay Packers v Las Vegas Raiders
Tyree Wilson
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

With the Las Vegas Raiders on a bye week, let’s take a look at rookie defensive end Tyree Wilson’s tape and break down what he’s done well and where he can improve. For context, we’ll dive into his highest-graded game via Pro Football Focus, Week 7 against the Chicago Bears (82.9), and one of his lowest-graded performances, Week 8 against the Detroit Lions (46.9).

I like to end on a high note, so we’ll work backward a bit here and start with the Detroit game.

The Lions run a pin-and-pull concept and Wilson is the spill player in the run fit, meaning he needs to get underneath the pullers and force the running back to bounce outside by taking away in the inside rushing lane.

With Robert Spillane scraping over the top of Wilson, Spillane is responsible for a run that goes outside of the tight end. So, with how the Raiders are trying to defend this play, the defensive end/outside linebacker needs to “spill” the action outside and it’s the linebacker’s tackle to make when the back bounces.

One way to take away the inside lane is to use a “wrong-arm” technique where Wilson uses a rip move with his outside arm to cross No. 74’s face. Granted, he can also try to take on 74’s block with his hands and constrict the inside lane by pushing the puller inside, but that’s much more difficult since the puller has a head of steam.

Regardless, Wilson ends up working around the block to the outside, which is what the offense wants as they’re trying to run into the C-gap between the left tackle and tight end.

Also, the No. 7 overall pick can be more physical and attack the tight end post-snap to disrupt the tight end’s path to the second level and help keep Spillane clean. Simultaneously, that will naturally take Wilson inside and make it easier for him to wrong arm and cross 74’s face.

A similar rep also happened later in the game as this has been an issue for him all season.

For a guy who is 6’6” and 275 pounds, Wilson is far too passive at the point of attack against double teams and combo blocks.

While he is taking on two blockers here, it’s from a tight end and a wide receiver on the goal line. Especially in this situation, he needs to fire off the ball and be aggressive against the tight end to set the edge and force the running back to cut inside. Instead, the two blockers take the fight to him, and he ends the rep in the endzone.

Also, a constant theme with Wilson is his hands are too wide when at the point of attack. That allows blockers to get into his chest and gain control of the block.

In fairness to the rookie, he is more aggressive and physical against tight ends when he gets one-on-one blocks. But for whatever reason, he seems to freeze or panic when two blockers come after him and that’s frustrating because that’s not the player he was at Texas Tech. Whether it’s a lack of confidence or he’s thinking too much, something needs to change as this can’t happen with his size and strength.

Wilson’s pass-rush skills have been a hot topic of discussion this season and while he still does have a lot of work to do in that department, this is a good example of the potential he has.

Generally speaking, his get-off and acceleration off the line of scrimmage aren’t great or consistent, but both are much improved on this rep specifically. Also, he has excellent timing with this one-arm stab move to take advantage of his length and push through the offensive tackle’s inside shoulder.

When Wilson’s timing is down and he’s able to make the first significant contact, there isn’t much the tackle can do to defend against this move given Wilson’s strength and length. Those are the natural gifts that helped make him such a coveted draft prospect.

This is a hail-mary situation at the end of the first half. So, it’s fine that Wilson loses outside contain on the quarterback initially because the Raiders aren’t worried about the quarterback scrambling for a first down. Also, he shows great effort to recover and knock the ball free, earning the first sack of his career.

But even before all of that, this is an impressive bull rush from the rookie.

Again, his get-off is much better than what we saw at the beginning of the season, and he has great leverage and hand placement at the point of attack to prevent the tackle from dropping the anchor. Also, we can see a good example of how his long arms make him hard to block as he gets extension to get off the block and pursue the quarterback.

For good measure, this is a similar clip as the last one as Wilson wins with power again. Only this time he maintains outside leverage and doesn't let the quarterback escape the pocket in a situation where he does need to contain the QB. That forces the ball out for a duck of a pass that falls well short of the target.


As you probably can guess, I actually walked away from this exercise more impressed with Wilson as a pass-rusher than as a run defender, which was unexpected. Don’t get me wrong, he still has plenty of work to do in both departments.

But right now, his natural gifts are standing out more when rushing the quarterback and a lot of the plays he’s made against the run have come when he gets one-on-one blocks against tight ends or wide receivers. There were very few, if any, times when Wilson beat an offensive lineman to make a play against the run in these two games.

The good news is we have a handful of examples of him defeating offensive tackles in the passing game, so now it’s just a matter of putting it all together and finishing the year strong to build momentum heading into next season.