The Las Vegas Raiders are 1-1 heading into their Week 3 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers. There have been ups and downs for the players on the team thus far, and, unfortunately for the Raiders, one of the negatives has been the No. 7 overall pick, defensive end Tyree Wilson. That said, head coach Josh McDaniels says it’s still way too early to judge the rookie, and Wilson is working hard to get better.
“Small sample size & perhaps #Raiders didn't plan on using rookie DE Tyree Wilson this much this soon,” ESPN Raiders reporter Paul Gutierrez listed as the reasons for the top pick’s struggles. “I asked Josh McDaniels what he's seen from Wilson: ‘I still think we're in the phase of working towards where he ultimately will be…he's working hard at it, the best he can.’”
Wilson has struggled at times in his first season with the Raiders. He has just three tackles on the season with no tackles for a loss, sacks, or even quarterback hits while being on for 49% (70) of the team’s defensive snaps.
Also on the negative side, Wilson has a 0% pass rush win rate in two weeks and is the 98th-ranked defender out of 100 in PFF’s season grades. And on the opposite side of the line from one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, the disparity is obvious.
— ImBearingDown (@ImBearingDown) September 15, 2023
Even with the struggles, there has been some cause for optimism in Wilson’s rookie campaign. He seems to be giving maximum effort on the field on game day and to hear his head coach tell it, he’s also working hard in practice.
— Sanjit T. (@Sanjit__T) September 19, 2023
To Gutierrez’s point, while Wilson was a top-10 pick, the Raiders knew he was a project and expected him to sit behind Chandler Jones for at least a while. Jones hasn’t played this season, though, as he deals with personal issues that have led to wild social media rants in the past weeks.
In the Raiders Week 3 matchup with the Steelers, Wilson will have a chance to get his first sack against a team with a weak line that’s given up seven sacks in two games.