August 26th must have felt like Christmas morning for Las Vegas Raiders fans, right? First, Josh Jacobs ends his holdout and agrees to a one-year contract. Then, later that day, Tyree Wilson makes his preseason debut and flashes the potential that made him the No. 7 overall pick in the 2023 draft. Unfortunately, Wilson’s preseason debut was more of a mixed bag than “impressive.”
Wilson spoke with reporters postgame, including the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore. The 23-year-old shared the thought process behind the scenes as he worked to get back onto the field.
Even though the first-round pick had to be patient, it was worth the wait. The cameo appearance in the 31-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys had The Athletic’s Ted Nguyen highlighting one play that might excite fans.
There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding Wilson’s return to the field, so let’s get into the latest.
Raiders DE Tyree Wilson had to trust the process during his rehab
Wilson’s NFL career thus far, heading into his rookie season, has been a grind. The 6-foot-6 pass rusher has been sidelined this offseason after suffering a season-ending foot injury in his final year at Texas Tech.
Nonetheless, it didn’t stop the Raiders from taking him in the top 10 in this year’s draft. After being activated off the non-football injury list and cleared to practice on August 16th, the game against Dallas felt like more than a preseason game.
“I’m a competitor, so it was frustrating,” Wilson told Bonsignore Saturday. “But they were in my ear every day, saying, Trust the process. Trust the process.’ And I just had to believe in the process and know that they were doing the right thing and what was best for my health.”
Although no team will rush a player to be fit, having Wilson play this final preseason game was a positive step. Despite him practicing, there’s no real substitute for live in-game experience. Playing against the Cowboys, even though it’s a team not at full strength, is a confidence booster.
Furthermore, the Texas Tech product wasn’t out on the football field, easing himself into action. Wilson made himself noticeable by showing what he could do in the pass rush this season.
So, what do you say, Raiders fans? It was only a preseason game, but how did Wilson stand out to you? Share your thoughts.
Did Tyree Wilson flash his potential?
While watching preseason football performances with a skeptical eye is typical, sometimes it’s hard not to get excited. Wilson flashed his pass rush potential, with the right tackle taking backward steps directly into the quarterback. Nguyen noted that this play is what Raiders fans need to keep in mind as the rookie progresses. If the Raiders intend to be a playoff team this 2023 preseason, their pass rush will have to lead the way on defense. Maxx Crosby will generate a lot of attention from the opposition. As a result, the defense needs others to step up and support “Mad Maxx.”
“Tyree is very raw and has a lot to learn but his speed to power is a trait you want to see translate early because that’s what his game will be built on,” Nguyen tweeted Saturday.
Chandler Jones wants a bounce-back season after a disappointing first year in Las Vegas. The veteran edge rusher only had 4.5 sacks last season, so he should likely have a chip on his shoulder. Meanwhile, Wilson has two great teachers to show him the ropes, but if Saturday’s glimpse is a taste of how he’ll perform, he’ll be contributing soon enough.
The Raiders finished in the bottom three last season in sacks (27). Only the Atlanta Falcons (21) and Chicago Bears (20) got to the quarterback fewer times than Las Vegas. However, could that number increase for the Silver and Black this season? If so, Wilson will definitely have had a hand in it.
*Top Photo: David Eulitt/Getty Images