Raiders take Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson in 1st round of NFL Draft

Texas Tech defensive lineman Tyree Wilson stands on stage after being chosen by the Las Vegas...
Texas Tech defensive lineman Tyree Wilson stands on stage after being chosen by the Las Vegas Raiders with the seventh overall pick during the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 27, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)(Jeff Roberson | AP)
Published: Apr. 27, 2023 at 6:19 PM PDT
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HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — Even with Maxx Crosby, the Las Vegas Raiders were among the NFL’s worst in getting to the quarterback.

The Raiders took what they hope is a major step toward correcting that problem by selecting Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson with the seventh overall pick of the NFL draft on Thursday night.

The Raiders were 30th in the NFL last season with 27 sacks, and Crosby had nearly half of those with 12 1/2.

“I’ve been watching (Crosby) for a while,” Wilson said. “He’s a great pass rusher, dominant and a disruptive player that’s going to be relentless all over the field. That’s how I try to play my game, relentless and disruptive.”

How quickly the 6-foot-6, 271-pound Wilson can boost a pass rush remains to be seen. He could have a hard time breaking into the starting lineup next season at end with Chandler Jones manning the side opposite Crosby, but Wilson very well could be part of the rotation.

The Raiders had to get more out of Jones than the 4 1/2 sacks he delivered but he played much better down the stretch, with four of those sacks coming in December, including three against the Los Angeles Chargers.

“I’m excited to join the team and learn from guys like him and Maxx to help take my game to another level and help the team get to a Super Bowl,” Wilson said.

Wilson, who transferred from Texas A&M in 2020, was quite successful at getting to the quarterback at Texas Tech. He recorded 14 sacks his last two seasons and was a second-team AP All-American last year.

His season ended Nov. 12 because of a foot injury, and Wilson underwent surgery nine days later. He did not participate in the NFL scouting combine or Texas Tech’s pro day. But Wilson said he would be ready by training camp.

“It’s up to the staff at the Raiders to see what percent I am,” Wilson said. “I feel great.”

Las Vegas brought Wilson in for one of its top-30 visits and clearly was comfortable enough to select him with such a high pick.

The Raiders could have selected Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, a player with top-five talent. Carter pleaded no contest to reckless driving and racing in March after a car crash that killed Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy. Carter instead went ninth to Philadelphia.

The Raiders, who went 6-11 last season, have plenty of work left over the final two days of the draft. They own five selections in the first 109 picks and 12 overall.

Much of that work will focus on improving a defense that ranked 27th last season in average yardage allowed (365.6) and 26th in scoring average (24.6).