Las Vegas Raiders Predictions: Tyree Wilson, Michael Mayer

Low PFF Grade Caps Rough Debut For Raiders Rookie Tyree Wilson

The Las Vegas Raiders rolled out their first-round pick, Tyree Wilson, in the first game of the 2023 season. Unfortunately, it was a mixed bag, which is putting it nicely.

Wilson did not start the game; he was instead rotated into the defensive line, a transition that most fans expected. Despite the nail-biting 17-16 win against the Denver Broncos, reviews for Wilson’s debut were far from positive. Capping what critics had to say, even Pro Football Focus wasn’t too high on the former Texas Tech Red Raider, awarding him a 40.5 overall grade.

Next man up for the Raiders

As most of Raider Nation knows, the fallout from the Chandler Jones drama resulted in him staying home. Without Jones, the Raiders turned to several other defensive linemen to fill the void. Maxx Crosby, Malcolm Koonce, Bilal Nichols, and Jerry Tillery were asked to step up and generate pressure. It was not realistic to expect Tyree Wilson to take the starting role in Jones’ place, but he was given the opportunity to compete.

The defensive line as a whole was effective, but not incredible by any means. Crosby and Co. logged four QB hits, seven TFLs, and two sacks. By comparison, the Broncos defensive line notched three QB hits, one TFL, and zero sacks. PFF showed Tyree hit the field for 32 snaps, 25 of which had him in a pass-rush situation. In those 25 pass rushes, Tyree was credited with a single pressure. Additionally, he was “involved” in one tackle.

Looking back, the defensive line showed issues setting edges and containing the quarterback. Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson was able to easily boot out to either side of the field without a significant amount of pressure.

A “slow” start, literally…

Anyone who kept an eye on the Raiders rookie defensive end should have noted one significant deficiency. Wilson was not just off to a slow start metaphorically, based on his statistics. Literally, Wilson was slow in the bout against the Broncos. The rookie defender’s get-off, which is his reaction time to the ball being snapped, was significantly slower than all of the other defensive linemen. When compared to Crosby, it was not even close.

Let’s keep in mind that Wilson is coming off an injury and spent the majority of training camp on the sidelines. He looked significantly faster during his lone preseason game appearance and defeated tackles easily with his sheer power. Still, that was preseason—that needs to be emphasized here.

Against the Broncos, Wilson struggled against left tackle Garrett Bolles and could not get to the quarterback. Wilson’s lack of conditioning on top of the higher elevation in Denver factored into his performance, or lack thereof.

Can Tyree Wilson bounce back in Week 2 vs. Buffalo?

The Raiders face the Buffalo Bills in Week 2 in upstate New York. The Bills, coming off a tough loss to the New York Jets, will be hungry for some retribution. Let’s face it, many NFL teams over the last few years have used the Raiders as “that game” to bounce back. That being said, Wilson will be facing an offensive line less formidable than the Broncos.

The issue is that he will have to monitor a more dynamic quarterback in Josh Allen, who is a constant threat with his arm and his rushing ability. Look for Wilson to continue to rotate into the defensive line as it is not clear if Chandler Jones will be playing. Wilson should line up against six-year veteran left tackle Dion Dawkins, who allowed three sacks in 2022. Hopefully, we see more speed out of the 7th overall pick during Week 2.

*Top Photo: David Eulitt/Getty Images

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