As the 2023 NFL Draft approaches, the rumor mill is in full swing, and the Detroit Lions are making headlines. ESPN draft analyst Matt Miller suggests that the Lions are highly interested in Texas Tech edge defender Tyree Wilson, one of the top prospects in the draft.
Lions’ Fascination with Tyree Wilson
According to Miller, the Lions hold a “high grade” on Wilson, having invested significant time and resources into scouting pass-rushers during the offseason. With the sixth overall pick, the team seems to be focusing on strengthening their defense in Round 1.
Wilson boasts the ideal physical attributes for an NFL edge defender, standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing 271 pounds, with an impressive 35.6-inch arm span. Despite needing to refine his technique and consistency, Wilson’s size, length, and power could make him a dominant force in the NFL on the defensive line.
The next Ziggy Ansah?
Drawing early comparisons to former Lions pass rusher Ezekiel Ansah, Wilson’s size, length, and athleticism make him an attractive option for the edge of a defensive line. A two-year starter, Wilson demonstrated improvement throughout his college career, finishing strong with 14 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks in his senior season.
In his own words, Wilson believes he brings something unique to the field:
I feel like I’m a different pass rusher … I’m not just committed to power. I feel like I can do power and speed and be effective inside and outside. Really just being that dominant dude on the field.
Expert Opinions and Rankings
Pro Football Focus awarded Wilson a 79.4 pass-rushing grade, noting his 50 pressures and seven sacks during the past season. Dane Brugler of The Athletic praises Wilson’s length, speed, and power, citing his potential as a versatile defensive lineman.
In terms of rankings, some analysts believe Wilson could be drafted ahead of Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr., while others place him as the second-best pass rusher and third-best defensive lineman overall. Wilson ranks as the No. 8 overall prospect on Brugler’s Top 100 list, No. 4 on NFL draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s Top 50 list, and No. 7 on ESPN’s consensus Top 10 overall rankings.
Development Opportunities in Detroit
The Lions’ current edge rotation, featuring Aidan Hutchinson, Charles Harris, James Houston, and Romeo Okwara, would allow Wilson to start as a subpackage defender before working his way into the regular rotation. With Harris and Okwara on expiring deals, Wilson could provide a long-term solution for the team.
Lions general manager Brad Holmes emphasizes the importance of a strong defensive line, making the addition of Wilson a logical choice for the team:
I say back in St. Louis even, it got to a point where we had a pretty strong defensive line and we had some concerns elsewhere, but we just kept adding to our defensive line…and it just turned into this beast that was just a strength of the football team.
During the Combine, Wilson expressed confidence in his abilities as a pass rusher, emphasizing his power, speed, and versatility. As draft night approaches, the Detroit Lions may look to capitalize on Wilson’s potential, adding another formidable weapon to their defensive arsenal.
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