QB Tyler Wilson. Photo by Tony Gonzales
The Oakland Raiders selected QB Tyler Wilson out of the University of Arkansas in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Wilson finished his college career with 593 completed passes for 7,765 yards and 52 touchdowns in 37 games. Wilson's career pass completions, pass percentage and passing yards established all-time school records and, in 2011, he was named to the All-SEC first-team.
The Arkansas product feels well-prepared for the NFL after the strong competition in the SEC. "Playing in the SEC, you play with players that are highly talented and the competition is very, very good every single day in practice as well as on the football field on game day," said Wilson. "We play in an environment where there's 100,000 people every single week and I think the pressure, the expectations, the anxiety you go through in the college environment I was in helps you."
Despite his preparedness, the first couple months in a Raiders uniform have been demanding for the rookie. "For me, I felt mentally is the biggest grind because physically I think I can throw the ball; that's the easy part, just throwing the ball and catching the football, making all the throws," explained Wilson. "The tough part is digesting the large amount of volume of the offense and playing fast at your full potential. Once you can kind of acclimate and adjust to all that, you can play like you can play. Also the timing within the offense because it's different routes, its different ideas that you have to adjust to."
QB Tyler Wilson hands the ball off to rookie RB Latavius Murray. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Wilson has two quarterback coaches to help him along the way, offensive coordinator Greg Olson, who spent many years as a quarterbacks coach, and position coach John DeFilippo. "Coach Olson obviously has tremendous amount of experience coaching quarterbacks as well as being an offensive coordinator. And having Coach DeFilippo as well as Coach Olson there at the same time, it's like having two people to watch you at all times and that's invaluable, I think," said Wilson. "You're constantly being critiqued. You're constantly being evaluated and I think that's very good. It puts a large amount of pressure on you to continue to get better and continue to work. I think that's vital to success."
As the off-season progressed, Wilson began to feel more comfortable out on the field and in the meeting rooms. "There's always something new put in the system, but I'm definitely able to get in the huddle and feel like I have a firm understanding of what's going on," said Wilson. "I still have a lot to learn, but much better than I was the first couple of days. I'm sure it'll get better and better as time goes on and excited about the opportunity to have a chance to play and do some positive things in the future."
Although a mentally and physically draining experience throughout OTAs and mini-camps, Wilson relished the opportunity. "Very excited [about wearing the Silver and Black]," Wilson said. "It didn't hit me right off, but I do remember at one point when I was in the huddle and as I'm giving the play, I'm going, 'hey, this is pretty cool.' Being out in California, a long way from home, playing potentially for a big-time team and a great situation for me, I was just really excited. Very, very excited."
The Arkansas-native enjoys his new home on the West Coast. "It's new, but I like it. I like the Bay Area. It's nice. The weather is great," he said. "I took a drive to Oakland and San Francisco area, across the Bay Bridge, and then the Golden Gate. Awesome experience. That's what's great about being out here – you're in the middle of everything."
The rookie quarterback is doing his best to get to know his new surroundings, and is excited to be part of the Raiders. "I'm excited to experience it for the first time in the Black Hole and see what they're like," said Wilson. "I'm excited and very, very happy to be here."