Raiders News: Christian Wilkins, Tom Telesco.

Christian Wilkins Should Be The Raiders’ Top Free Agent Target

Regardless of what happens with the quarterback position in the next month or so, the Las Vegas Raiders need to build up their strength. The fact is, Patrick Graham’s defense is what will determine how far the team goes in 2024. If that’s the case, general manager Tom Telesco needs to do everything in his power to make sure he helps the cause. Enter: Christian Wilkins.

The Raiders’ defensive line is arguably the team’s greatest strength, largely due to Maxx Crosby. Still, there’s more to it than that, with the emergence of Malcolm Koonce on the opposite edge—he amassed eight sacks and three forced fumbles last season. Last year’s first-round draft pick, Tyree Wilson, was in the grand scheme of things, a disappointment, but still, there’s hope. Coming off an injury in his final collegiate season, Wilson’s first go-around got off to a slow start, but things began to slowly get going later in the year. It’s possible that Wilson will be better suited to playing inside, given his raw size and strength.

As you can see, there’s so much potential for this group heading into Antonio Pierce’s first full season as head coach. If you plug in a player of Wilkins’ strength inside, alongside Crosby, this could be the making of something special.

Why should the Raiders go with Christian Wilkins?

Let’s just assume that Chris Jones goes back to the Kansas City Chiefs; if that’s the case, Wilkins should automatically be the top target, if he isn’t already. Yes, he’s not a bigger name than Jones, but if we’re talking about sheer productivity, Wilkins is right there. He’s coming off a career-high nine sacks, along with two pass deflections and a forced fumble—his 70.8 Pro Football Focus pass-rushing grade is nothing to scoff at.

Say what you will, but if you take away Crosby’s sack production, the Raiders defense is a lot more pedestrian. Looking at it, the need for Wilkins’ services becomes much more amplified. Another positive for Wilkins is his health and durability—he hasn’t missed a game in the last three seasons.

As free agency draws near, Wilkins is the player worth monitoring.

*Top Photo: Getty Images

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