Insider Shares the Raiders’ 2023 Draft Plan for Seventh-Overall Pick that Didn’t Work Out

By now, everyone has heard or read about the Raiders’ divided interest in C.J. Stroud going into last year’s draft.

Josh McDaniels was reportedly willing to trade up in the draft for Bryce Young, but wasn’t interested in making a move for Stroud. Former Raiders’ GM Dave Zielger apparently liked Stroud, but the team decided to go in a different direction.

As it turns out, the draft plan that everyone agreed on at the time was a move back in the draft to take an interior defensive lineman.

“The Raiders last year wanted to trade their [first-round] pick,” Sports Illustrated‘s Hondo Carpenter said on the Las Vegas Raiders Insider podcast. “Their desire last year was to trade down, pick up an additional one or two picks, and pick Calijah Kancey. That was their mindset last year. When they couldn’t find anybody willing to pay the price of what they valued what was there, they took Tyree [Wilson].”

Whatever the Raiders were offered for the seventh-overall pick, they obviously valued Wilson more than what was being offered for the pick.

For what it’s worth, Kancey and Wilson put up relatively similar numbers in their respective rookie seasons. Kancey recorded 4.0 sacks and Wilson finished the year with 3.5 sacks. Kancey ended the year with an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 46.6 and Wilson’s season grade was marginally better at 47.1.

Kancey (663) played more snaps that Wilson (493), but that probably had more to do with a lingering foot injury that seemed to affect Wilson for much of the year… or at least that’s the most hopeful explanation for his relatively modest rookie season.

Looking ahead to next year, there’s a good chance that Wilson will play more snaps on the interior of the Raiders’ defensive line. That wasn’t necessarily the plan when he was drafted, but the emergence of third-year edge rusher Malcolm Koonce will probably force the hand of the coaches for at least one more season.

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