Tyree Wilson is continuing to trust the process. He currently doesn't have any other choice.
It's been a whirlwind year for the rookie defensive end who spent the offseason rigorously rehabbing a foot injury suffered at Texas Tech. Wilson didn't have the opportunity to finish his collegiate season or partake in any NFL Combine or Pro Day drills. Nevertheless, he left more than enough on film for the Raiders to draft him with the seventh overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
After arriving to Las Vegas, they helped him formulate a plan that got him back on the field for joint practices against the Los Angeles Rams. In several practices and his lone preseason action against the Dallas Cowboys, he looked the part. However, the young rookie is nowhere close to being a finished product yet.
He's been thrown in the fire through three games, with less than ideal statlines than people may have expected. Last week, he battled an illness that limited him to 11 snaps on Sunday Night Football against the Steelers. The rookie is seemingly still trying to adjust to game speed at the next level, which is even more difficult considering the injury he's still coming back from.
But once again, he's trusting the process.
"I'm definitely getting more comfortable every game," Wilson said. "The more reps I take, the more practices I do, I get more and more comfortable each and every day. I feel like you grow with preparation and practice, so that's why I come in and go hard every day to give my best each and every day. I don't care what other people say, it matters what my teammates say and what the organization says."
Since returning to the field, Wilson has made it a focus to slow down the game. It's not uncommon for the speed of a game to feel like it's 1,000 miles per hour for rookies, but it becomes easier with more knowledge of the playbook and reps against NFL competition.
"The one thing for Tyree, just keep getting acclimated to the league in terms of getting familiar with the different sets he's going to see, the different looks he's going to get from the offense, just getting familiar with that," defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said. "And then just working on his own craft, whether it's in the run game or passing game and improving that. For most young players, just improving their strength and their endurance throughout the season. It's just getting used to NFL football, it's just a different animal."
Maxx Crosby is certainly acclimated to the NFL at this point in his career, coming off two straight Pro Bowl selections. It wasn't easy for Crosby coming out the gate either, which is why the team captain is doing everything in his power to help Wilson adjust to the league.
"We talked about today, For him, it's just being intentional with every single rep," Crosby said of his advice to the first-rounder. "You've got to do it a million times right in practice to get it right once in a game, and you don't realize that when you're coming from college to the NFL."
"Everyone is good in the NFL. Everyone's talented. Everyone's big, fast, strong," continued Crosby. "But the guys that do it at the highest level [are] the guys that do the ordinary stuff extraordinary, every single day. [He's] got to be consistent, got to continue to show up and look for room to improve every single day."
The rookie hasn't taken Crosby's advice for granted. The two have a bond that stems from growing up in Texas. During pregame warmups against the Steelers, Wilson even rocked some specialty socks with Crosby's face on them that he got at the NFL Rookie Premiere event.
"Maxx [has] been coaching me up, helping me develop with my game," said Wilson. "Just helping me grow every day. He's like a big bro inside the building. It means a lot for one of the best pass rushers in the game wanting me to get to where my potential is. It means a lot. That motivates me every day to come to work and give it my all, not only for me but my teammates."
Going into his fourth NFL game, things could turn the corner for Wilson in Los Angeles. The Raiders' front seven will need him against Justin Herbert and the Chargers' formidable offense. With Crosby leading the way for the unit, all Wilson will need to do is follow the blueprint.
The Raiders hit the practice field at Intermountain Health Performance Center one last time before their Sunday matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium.