Tyree Wilson Draft Profile
The NFL is a beautiful league because it is a culmination of the most athletically gifted human beings on the planet coming together to play a sport that requires immense intelligence and teamwork. The teamwork aspect is heavily stressed for offenses trying to find ways to block Texas Tech Edge Rusher, Tyree Wilson. For just about every team Texas Tech faced this season, it was a group effort trying to stop Wilson, the Texas A&M transfer. In his final season with the Red Raiders, Wilson was named a first-team All-American. Before his success on the football field, Wilson was born in Alaska and moved to a small city in Texas called New London. When looking at Wilson, the first thing that stands out is his size and length. Standing at nearly 6’6 with a 35 5/8 inch reach; Wilson has the ideal build for the modern day NFL edge rusher. Every defensive coach wants a chance to mold Wilson into the next Chandler Jones, and that is why I believe he is going to go a lot earlier than the general population expects.
While many people are infatuated by Wilson’s sheer size and length, his bend and closing speed were the two areas that stood out most to me. Most taller pass rushers lean on their length and physicality for their go-to rushes; however, Wilson relies on centripetal force to win as a pass rusher. He has extremely mobile ankles that allow him to turn corners with elite bend on speed rushes and stunts. On top of having rare length and bend, Wilson’s short-area burst is where things get scary. Once he beats the blocker in front of him, all he needs is one or two steps and he is at the quarterback. That is where his length really comes into play; his stride and wingspan allow him to close in on tackles immediately after he wins his rush. While the majority of his sacks and pressures come from him using his length and bending around offensive tackles; he still has some violence to his game that makes tight ends and running backs regret trying to chip him. His ability to convert speed to power meshes really well with his normal speed rushes, and there is still so much room for him to grow as a pass rusher. Against the run, he has demonstrated good strength that allows him to press and shed blocks then make splash plays behind the line of scrimmage.
At Texas Tech, he was used all over the field. While I believe he is at his best when he is able to just put his hand in the dirt and rush the passer from a wide-nine; he has experience playing: three technique, shade, and a more condensed five. His length in the interior is really helpful when it comes to bull-rushing shorter armed guards. He is able to make first, meaningful contact and get his hands inside which allows him to control his gap. Against then run, he is able to occupy multiple lanes due to his natural extension and ability to see beyond his blocker. Against the pass, he is able to disrupt the quarterbacks vision by putting his hands up and knocking down passes. The athletic attributes that Tyree Wilson possesses make him a threat to be the next great pass rusher in the NFL, especially if he goes to a team that allows him to strictly rush the passer and not drop into coverage.
Arguably the most exciting thought surrounding Wilson is that he is still so raw and has a lot of room to grow. As a pass rusher, he is still learning how to use his hands on counter moves. All he has put on tape are speed rushes, power rushes, and speed to power. There is still so much for Wilson to unlock, but he is going to need the proper coach to show him how to elevate his game. I also want to see him get more explosive off the line of scrimmage and make up more ground with his first three steps. Once he improves his get-off, he will get more immediate pressure and knock back at the point of contact. Against the run, he was coached to force runners to spill out which led to a lot of bad pursuit angles and getting washed out with down-blocks. He will need to learn how to hold his ground and contain edges. Wilson has the possibility of being the best player in the draft, and if he lands with a defensive minded coach that is able to teach him technique and explosion off the line, the sky is the limit.
One of the biggest misconceptions when discussing freak athletes is that most of them are “high ceiling, low floor players”. I disagree; I believe these are “high ceiling, high floor players”, because if all else fails, they always have their natural athleticism to fall back on. I do not like comparing draft prospects to hall-of-fame players, but my ceiling for Wilson is Chandler Jones if he is able to develop his rush arsenal and get off the line faster. Wilson’s floor is Charles Omenihu, an above average edge rusher who does a really good job at getting pressure from the interior. Ideally, Wilson gets drafted second overall to the Texans where he can learn similar counter-moves from Demeco Ryans that Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead are so good at. If he were to be drafted by Houston, he would be playing their “LEO” position which aligns as a wide-nine on base rushing scenarios. Seattle and Arizona would also be good spots for him within the top five picks as well. I have Wilson listed as a top five player in this draft, and he could very well end up being the best player in the draft if his nascent tools all come together.
Bend + Fluidity: 11.25/12
Speed + Burst: 11/12
Strength + Violence: 10/12
Explosiveness + Point of Contact: 8/10
Length + Hand Usage: 8.75/10
Short-Area Quickness + Change of Direction: 6.5/8
Block Shed + Play-Making: 7/8
Run Game + Gap Integrity: 7/8
Instincts + Intelligence: 5/6
Effort + Pursuit: 5/6
Final Rating: 86
Pro Comparison: Floor Charles Omenihu with a Ceiling of Chandler Jones
Team Fits: Texans, Cardinals, Seahawks
Draft Projection: Top 5 Pick
Draft Grade: Top 3 Player