On the first night of the NFL Draft in Kansas City, the Las Vegas Raiders had just one first pick at the seventh spot. As a result, General Manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels have the pressure of trying to get this pick correct for years to come in Sin City.
With Arizona acquiring the No. 6 from Detroit, the Cardinals selected offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. from Ohio State. That put the Raiders in the spotlight, needing to make their pick with multiple options to go.
At the No. 7 spot, the Raiders had the choice of selecting quarterback Will Levis from Kentucky to perhaps back up newly-acquired play caller Jimmy Garoppolo, solidify the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball or working towards establishing the secondary.
Some mock drafts had the Raiders linked to cornerback Christian Gonzalez from Oregon or offensive lineman Peter Skoronski from Northwestern with the No. 7 pick.
Las Vegas Raiders choose EDGE Tyree Wilson
Ziegler ultimately decided to solidify the defensive line by choosing EDGE Tyree Wilson from Texas Tech.
Wilson, who stands at 6-foot-6 and weighs 271 pounds, was a 1st Team All-Big 12 selection and a 2nd team Associated Press All-American selection last year for the Red Raiders, who went 8-5 last season and won the TaxAct Texas Bowl against Ole Miss.
Last season for Texas Tech, Wilson played 10 games and recorded 61 total tackles, including 14 tackles for loss. He also netted seven sacks as he was one of the nation’s top pass rushers before missing the final two games due to a non-contact foot injury.
Despite the foot injury, Wilson is confident that he will be ready for training camp.
“I expect to be ready by training camp,” Wilson said to the media Thursday. “It’s up to the staff with the Raiders to see what percent I’m in. I feel great and I’m trying to be my best on the field.”
As a result, Wilson joins a defensive end room that features Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones. The Raiders’ defensive line combined to rank third-worst with 27 sacks last season.
Wilson, who has been compared to Jones during the draft process, said he cannot wait to wear the same jersey with him alongside Crosby.
“I’m excited to be able to join the team and learn from guys like him and Maxx to help take my game to another level and hopefully get to a Super Bowl,” Wilson said.
Picking Wilson establishes the depth behind Crosby or Jones on either side of the defensive line, especially going up against a couple of mobile quarterbacks – Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert – in the AFC West.
This was the Las Vegas Raiders’ lone scheduled first-round pick. Their next pick is No. 38 in the second round.