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Initial thoughts on Raiders’ selection of Tyree Wilson at No. 7

Raiders get good value with Texas Tech pass-rusher

Kansas v Texas Tech
Tyree Wilson
Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders selected edge rusher Tyree Wilson at No. 7 in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Here are some initial thoughts on the selection:

The board fell nicely:

Because three quarterbacks went in the first four picks, the Raiders were faced with several quality players when they picked at No. 7. In addition to Wilson, Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez, Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter and Kentucky quarterback Will Levis were all still there. That’s some quality choices.

The right call:

There was a lot of talk that the Raiders could trade down, and they had a great situation. Wilson, I think was the right call. They need defensive studs and he has a chance to be an impact player. Gonzalez is good, but I got the sense that the Raiders favored Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon over him, however, he went to Seattle at No. 5. Carter has his issues and Levis may be a project. So getting the talented Wilson was smart.

No QB:

There was big speculation that the Raiders, who studied all of the top quarterbacks, would only bite at the position with their first pick if Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud were available. They, of course, went in the first two picks. The Raiders could take a quarterback in any round during the rest of the draft, however.

No Jalen Carter:

Carter is considered a potential generational talent. But off-field issues and a poor Pro Day dropped him past the Raiders and to the Eagles at No. 9. Will they regret it? Time will tell.

Helps Maxx:

Again, the Raiders need help everywhere on defense. Wilson will be with star Las Vegas pass rusher Maxx Crosby during Crosby’s prime. These two have a chance to help each other and become a top pass rush tandem. Chandler Jones is probably entering his final season with the Raiders, so this pick is smart. He would be a fantastic third option as a rookie.

Coming after Mahomes:

Wilson is the first Texas Tech Red Raider top 10 pick since Patrick Mahomes was the No. 10 pick in 2017. On Thursday night, Mahomes started the draft by strutting the Lombardi Trophy onto the stage in Kansas City. Then, Wilson did some strutting of himself on the stage. Ironically, one of the reasons why the Raiders took him is to slow Mahomes down twice a year. Mahomes noted his fellow Texas Tech alumni’s next home.

Foot concerns:

One of the reasons why Wilson, who some thought would be a top-five pick, dropped to seven was that he had foot surgery that kept him from the NFL Combine and his pro day. Lisfranc (mid-foot) injuries can be tricky, but reportedly Wilson — who had a top-30 visit with Las Vegas — is coming along and the Raiders are comfortable with it. Wilson said on Thursday night that he expects to be ready for training camp in July. Yes, there is some risk, but it shouldn’t be a long-term concern.

What’s next:

Just stay the course. The Raiders next pick at No. 38 in the second round on Friday. Las Vegas, which has 11 picks remaining, also have picks No. 70 and No. 100. Yes, they can trade up back into the first round. Hendon Hooker, perhaps? But right now, the focus is on Friday. Expect more defense. The cornerback class is deep, so that could be a focus at No. 38.