The Las Vegas Raiders went big—literally—with their first pick of the 2023 NFL Draft by taking 6’6” and 270-pound Tyree Wilson, a defensive lineman out of Texas Tech, with the seventh selection overall.
Wilson was considered one of the best defensive linemen in the draft class by many people within the draft community and ended up being the second one off the board behind Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr., who was taken third overall by the Houston Texans. Part of the reason the former Red Raider was so highly-touted was he put up some impressive box score stats, racking up 121 total tackles, 32 TFL and 17 sacks over the last four years.
While those figures are certainly impressive, diving deeper into the more advanced numbers can give us an even better idea of what Wilson can bring to Las Vegas.
Coming out of high school, the Henderson, Texas native was a 3-star recruit in the 2018 class, the No. 471 player overall and the 23rd-ranked weakside defensive end, according to 247Sports composite rankings. He actually began his college career at Texas A&M where he redshirted as a true freshman.
Wilson played more of a reserve role during his second season with the Aggies, only logging more than 25 snaps in one game and more than 10 in just five contests, per Pro Football Focus. He was playing behind a couple of future 2022 draft picks in DeMarvin Leal—third-round pick, No. 84 overall for the Pittsburgh Steelers—and Michael Clemmons—fourth-round pick, No. 117 overall for the New York Jets—leading to meager production.
As a redshirt freshman, Wilson only logged six defensive stops versus the run and six pressures as a pass-rusher. However, he was efficient as a run defender given the limited reps with a 12.8 percent stop rate that led the team’s defensive linemen. He wasn’t as consistent when rushing the passer, though, logging just a 9.5 percent win rate that ranked fifth among the Aggies’ seven edge rushers.
He entered the transfer portal heading into the 2020 campaign, a decision he recently elaborated on in the quote below obtained by On3 Sports:
“I went to Texas A&M first, you know, went there for two years … but just didn’t feel like that was home,” Wilson said on NFL Network to Peter Schrager. “Got in the portal and then (I built that relationship at) Texas Tech and was around great people and they helped me get me to this journey.”
Wilson saw a significant increase in playing time, going from 132 defensive snaps in the previous season to 388 during his first year in Lubbock. Unfortunately, his numbers against the run took a hit despite the extra reps with just four defensive stops at a 2.2 percent rate while recording an ugly 47.3 PFF run defense grade. This was the year he started to put it together as a pass-rusher though, racking up 19 pressures and bumping his win percentage up to 10.2 percent.
Year three was when it all started coming together for the Texas Tech product. He became a full-time starter and was on the field for 605 plays and his numbers skyrocketed. Against the run, his 18 defensive stops tied for fifth among Big 12 edges and he remained efficient with a top 10 stop rate at 7.2 percent.
As a pass-rusher, Wilson nearly doubled his pressure count from the year before, tieing for eighth in the conference with 37. He also recorded a career-high 15.3 percent win rate that also was good enough for eighth-best among his peers.
Finally, we get to Wilson’s last season in college where his numbers were even more eye-catching, especially considering a foot injury limited him to just 10 games and 538 total snaps.
The former Red Raider was a force against the run, logging 25 defensive stops which tied for the most among Big 12 edge defenders. He also was toward the top of the conference in efficiency with a 10.0 percent stop rate that ranked third, and his 1.9-yard average depth of tackle was tied for 12th-best. Essentially, that means he was making impactful play after impactful play as a run defender.
Even more impressively, Wilson managed to lead the conference in pressures with 50 despite rushing the passer over 150 times fewer than the second-place finisher, Dylan Horton (48 pressures) from TCU who played in 15 games. Wilson’s pressure count ranked tied for 16th among all FBS edges last season while he also had the fewest opportunities of anyone in the top 20.
He also managed to rank second at his position within the conference with a career-best 22.3 percent win rate as a rusher, further highlighting how much his efficiency improved over the years.
Against “true pass sets” (defined by Pro Football Focus, here), he earned the second-highest PFF pass-rush grade (88.6) among Big 12 defensive linemen, only trailing fellow 2023 first-round-pick Will McDonald IV, who went 15th overall to the New York Jets.
Clearly, last season was a good one for Wilson and a big factor in him earning a top-10 selection.
As we know, college production doesn’t always translate to the NFL, but the Raiders have certainly picked up someone who can be a disruptive force next to Maxx Crosby on the defensive line for years to come.