There’s always an allure to EDGE prospects who provide overwhelming power on the line. Power is a trait that can be hard to find in elite quantities, but as his 2023 NFL Draft scouting report shows, Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson has it. That power has already landed Wilson’s name on the early-round radar. But does he have the composite profile to deliver on the hype?
Tyree Wilson NFL draft profile
The Travon Walker effect is in full swing. Last season, Walker essentially came out of nowhere to become the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Even more fascinating than his rise was his profile. Walker didn’t have elite production or anything close to it. But with elite raw power and athleticism, the ceiling he offered was simply too enticing to pass up.
Walker’s dramatic rise now has analysts searching for the next prospect to follow his lead and emerge from the masses as a surprise first-round contender. It’s important to take caution with this approach. Walker was an extremely unique prospect in a unique class without a bona fide first-overall talent. But in its simplest form, the search for the next Travon Walker can help us identify prospects with similar high-upside traits.
Now, let’s talk about Wilson. Wilson is not Walker, but two of his traits — length and power — are in the same exceedingly high range. It took a couple of years for Wilson, a former three-star recruit for Texas A&M, to catch on. But he found his stride with Texas Tech in 2021, amassing 38 tackles, seven sacks, and 13 tackles for loss.
He’s not a household name in the early rounds just yet. But does Wilson’s scouting report justify the expectation of a meteoric rise?
- Position: Edge Rusher
- School: Texas Tech
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height/Weight: 6’6″, 275 pounds
Tyree Wilson scouting report
In a stacked EDGE class, where might Wilson file in? His range of outcomes is vast, like many prospects. But at his max, early-round capital could very much be in the equation in the 2023 NFL Draft.
It’s nearly impossible not to be awestruck by the tools Wilson possesses. At 6’6″, 275 pounds, with arms near 36″ long, Wilson has an outrageously large and dense frame with a dominating wingspan. He can generate disruption on the edge, but his size also enables him to rotate inside to 3-technique and provide value there.
Size alone, of course, isn’t enough. A level of functional athleticism must also be present. Luckily for Wilson, he has that and more. The Texas Tech EDGE shows off intense acceleration capacity when he has room to open up his strides and churn his legs. Additionally, he has high-level initial burst when he’s able to pin his ears back. His long-track explosiveness allows him to surge through gaps and pressure blockers on stunts.
For his size, Wilson has excellent explosive capacity, and he can channel that momentum into force at contact. Moreover, the Texas Tech EDGE has the explosiveness to overtake the tackle to the apex and acquire space to surge inside. He’s also flashed the ability to control his acceleration and throttle up into the apex with long, powerful strides.
With his size, you’d think bend would be an area of weakness for Wilson. It may not be a surefire strength just yet, but Wilson does have bend capacity to further unearth. He’s shown the ability to tuck his hips under the apex and change directions quickly while sustaining acceleration. He has a definite degree of ankle flexion, which he can use to pry around blockers on stunts.
Going further, Wilson has shown he can reduce his surface area and splice his way around blocks. He can pinch moderately tight angles and pivot around blocks when he has enough space. With those opportunities, Wilson has proven himself to be able to corner with surprising control and quickness after piercing through gaps. Furthermore, he has the flexibility to snap his hips into place upon extending and driving his power forward.
Wilson is more of a linear athlete overall, but he does have serviceable agility and twitch. At his maximum, he’s a surprisingly fleet-footed mover, and he can quickly chop his feet to accelerate into contact as a rusher. He can also use modest lateral twitch to displace tackles and bait them into extending early. Furthermore, Wilson flashes impressive lateral agility when shading around moving blocks to invade gaps.
Wilson’s athleticism is very much a selling point, but the Texas Tech EDGE’s chief foundational trait is his otherworldly power capacity. Wilson has the elite power capacity required to obliterate a blocker’s center of gravity with ruthless extensions. He generates dominating power with full extensions and can sustain power exertion with steady leg drive.
Wilson’s hands have extreme knock-back power, and he consistently drives blockers back on initial contact. The Texas Tech EDGE can quickly extend, then reload and re-exert with violent arm movements. He’s able to bulldoze blockers with power generated by his burst and length.
Power and strength often go hand-in-hand to an extent, and it’s not a shock to see that Wilson has both in elite quantities. The Texas Tech EDGE has the raw strength to hold blocks from inside while surveying option plays, then rip himself free to commit in pursuit. As a pass rusher, he can wrench down opposing anchors and extensions with devastating force. Additionally, he can lock his anchor into place and steamroll linemen into the pocket with overwhelming strength.
The operational area is where Wilson stands to improve in 2022, but already, he’s shown promise here. The Texas Tech EDGE is tall and can struggle with leverage, but he improved at getting his base under him as the 2021 season went on. He does have the ability to sink his pads and drive power forward. Additionally, he can actively acquire leverage, load up his base, and forklift linemen with raw power exerted on the torso. He can also get skinny to squeeze through gaps as a stunting lineman.
Expanding on Wilson’s operational traits, his hand usage is visibly trending up as well. Over the course of the 2021 campaign, Wilson improved at bringing a consistent pass-rush plan and stacking successive moves. He became visibly more patient and reactive down the stretch and even showed that he could flash his hands to bait linemen and rip down extensions while swerving around the edge.
Wilson more consistently brought a pass-rush plan later in 2021 and showed he could stack successive moves. His power moves — such as bull-rushes, long-arms, and forklifts — can be devastating, but Wilson was also able to win with combos like push-pull-arm-over, rip-swim, and dip-and-rip. He can attack the opponent’s torso with extensions, then wrench hands off his frame and swim inside.
Wilson has shown he can win with various mixes of finesse and power, but power will always be his primary trait as a pass rusher. He can effectively long-arm blockers and re-establish his anchor while driving his legs forward. He can also violently swat down levers, engage in hand-fighting, and surge around blockers. And when infiltrating the pocket, he actively uses his length to reach and wrap around passers.
Wilson is a high-motor rusher who consistently draws double- and triple-teams and still fights to break through. In pursuit, he has the play strength and wide reach to easily make solo tackles, engulfing ball carriers with his wingspan. The Texas Tech EDGE also brings solid range in pursuit with his long strides, and he has enough burst and speed to close gaps on runners as they turn upfield. In a similar vein, he’s shown he can identify RBs sneaking into the flats and run them down.
Wilson’s areas for improvement
At times, Wilson can be a bit late timing the snap, and he doesn’t have the quantifiably elite burst to compensate. He can’t always sustain acceleration while pinching tight angles, as his tall frame can be hard to shrink. His hips do show slight stiffness at times, and Wilson can be locked up at the apex as a result.
Going further, Wilson sometimes experiences a delay when he needs to change directions. He isn’t always able to halt his momentum or control his mass and doesn’t bring elite lateral mobility. His frame is tall and slightly high-hipped, which leads him to come into blocks too tall, limiting his ability to drive power forward with maximum efficiency. Similarly, Wilson will drift too far upright when approaching blocks, hindering his ability to drive.
Wilson can be more consistent in sinking his pads, activating his lower body, and magnifying power. He too often neutralizes his base early in reps by aligning upright into contact. Moreover, Wilson doesn’t consistently stack counters off extensions. His hands are heavy but can be faster and more violent at times. He can also better load up his arms to maximize power exertion and energy efficiency. Wilson can be heavily reliant on two-hand extensions and isn’t always quick to adapt when his rushes stall out.
Among other things, Wilson sometimes appears uncontrolled and can channel his traits more efficiently, both heading into contact and working around the edge. He occasionally fades out at the tail end of reps and doesn’t have elite range or functional athleticism in space.
Current draft projection for Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson
On the heels of a strong 2021 campaign, Wilson grades in the Day 2 range. It’s well within the range of outcomes that he’s a top-75 pick. And if everything goes his way, he undoubtedly has Round 1 upside. With Wilson, the name of the game is linear progression, and that’s a reason for optimism in 2022.
Over the course of the 2021 campaign, Wilson visibly improved some notable deficiencies in his game. He improved at acquiring leverage, sinking his pads, and driving his power forward. And he also refined his hand usage, employing more combinations with greater speed and consistency. There’s still room for the Texas Tech EDGE to keep developing, but he grew across 2021, and that growth culminated in a dominant bowl showing against Mississippi State.
Wilson’s game revolves around a domineering physical profile that features elite size, length, and power output. That power gives Wilson a consistent edge in contact situations. But beyond that, Wilson also has stellar explosive capacity, as well as a functional degree of bend. He can still be more consistent applying his bend, but he does have more hip flexibility and ankle flexion than one would anticipate. And he can set the edge with ease as a run defender.
With his burst, power, play strength, and developing hand usage, Wilson has enormous upside in 3- and 4-point stances. He can be a disruptive multi-phase even-front defensive end, with the ability to rotate inside and blast back blockers at 3-tech. Wilson assuredly has early-round upside. Time will tell if he can see it through.