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Christian Wilkins remains 'hungry' entering first season in the Silver and Black

Yes, it's hard to properly evaluate players this early in the offseason, but there's just something about Christian Wilkins when he steps up to the line of scrimmage.

The bar has been set high for the defensive tackle going into his debut season with the Las Vegas Raiders. He arrived to the desert after five productive seasons with the Dolphins, totaling 20.5 career sacks in that span.

He was also open about his desire to team up with Maxx Crosby, who's coming off a career season himself. The Raiders were aware of the upside signing Wilkins could bring to the defense.

But even before Training Camp, he keeps raising the bar higher with each practice.

"Christian running to the ball, he's a freak of nature," said Nate Hobbs. "He's 300 some pounds, first one to the ball. I've never seen anybody that size move like that, that flexible, that bendy. He's a pro for real. He knows his job, he does what he's supposed to do outside of the field."

"He works his ass off, it's the guy that works," Crosby added. "He's a worker, so I love having guys that are like minded around. So, it's been a hell of a start so far. We have a lot of work to do. We're just getting off each other's energy, we love football and that's really all that matters."

Adding to the interior defensive line was a high priority for General Manager Tom Telesco and after signing one of the top free agents on the market, he's impressed not just with the level of play Wilkins brings to the Raiders, but his poise and leadership as well.

"Christian, he's a natural leader," Telesco said on Media Day. "Even though he's a veteran, he's played in the league, when you come to a new team sometimes guys will take a step back and see the lay of the land. He just walked in and he leads naturally right away and that's kind of rare to see."

The love for football is prevalent in every rep for Wilkins. He was undoubtedly one of the top performing players throughout the early portion of offseason workouts, consistently finding his way into the backfield. Quarterback Gardner Minshew II joked that if the football is in your hands, "you'll see him soon."

As for what Wilkins believes he can achieve at this stage of his career, there's no limit.

"I've come a long way definitely since my rookie year in this league," he said. "I've seen so much, I've done a lot, and knowing that and just seeing how far I've come always just keeps me hungry. I'm just always trying to be my best, and now you kind of see what experience and wisdom does for you because then now when certain things go on, you're not rattled, or you can impart that wisdom into a younger guys. I'm just blessed to be in the position I'm in and to be able to do that."

With Wilkins added into the mix, the expectations are certainly high of the defense from an outside perspective. But the message in the building is not delving on expectations and hype. The rising superstar recognizes that it's "yet to be seen" how good they can truly become. The main goal has been, and continues to be, get better day by day.

"We just have to come in with the right mindset each and every day," he said. "We've done some good things so far and we're off to a good start. Just figuring out the defense, communicating, getting guys in the right spots. But it's ultimately up to us as players. The coaches – they put a lot on us as players, so it's up to us to take the ownership and that accountability so we could be the best defense we can be."

Take a look at behind the scenes photos of the Las Vegas Raiders 2024 Media Day.

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