Seahawks mock drafts: Tyree Wilson "long" gone or a "reach" at pick 5?
You'll see the name connected to Seattle a lot in the coming weeks: Seaside Joe 1443
The last two edge players from the Big-12 who were drafted in the first round were L.J. Collier (TCU) and Bruce Irvin (West Virginia). Yes, Bruce Irvin is the second-most recent first round edge player drafted out of the Big-12 conference.
11 years after Bruce and four years after Collier, will the Seattle Seahawks go 3-for-3 and select Texas Tech’s Tyree Wilson with the fifth overall pick? That’s what mock drafts are saying over and over and over again. Is it fair? No, better yet…is it a desirable outcome?
Because of course the Seahawks could draft Wilson. As we sit here today, the Seahawks could draft Calijah Kancey or Anthony Richardson or even Tyson Bagent. Mock drafts are nothing more than someone’s sick and twisted fantasy, a fictional account of some future event that happens to exist in a realm that will have an actual outcome on April 27th. But they are still nothing more than fiction and meritless beyond scratching that itch in your brain that desperately wants to find out how the actual draft will unfold.
The older I get, the less I want to be seen as some person sitting in a dark room in the middle of the night, sipping sideways on an off-brand Coca-Cola, deeply examining some kid’s version of events that he posted on a social media website.
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No matter how many mock drafts you read or create, it will never impact or accurately reflect the real world.
“But it helps me get to know the prospects.” Two things:
1 - There are now tons of big boards that can do that
2 - 98% of the prospects will not be on the Seahawks and more than 90% won’t even play significant snaps against the Seahawks in their careers
Which is all well and fine, there’s nothing wrong with being a well-rounded NFL fan. Read mock drafts! Get to know the prospects! That’s something I’m touching on today, obviously. I’m just saying, if fans could will certain players to their favorite teams, nobody would ever “Boo!” at the NFL Draft. If anyone could write a mock draft that gave you an accurate picture of what will happen, Roger Goodell would have that person assassinated a la Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory.
It’s fascinating to me that anyone could read a mock draft from Mel Kiper or Todd McShay or name ‘em and actually have emotional reactions to the outcomes. It’s not real!
The question today of Tyree Wilson is not one of whether the mock drafts are “right”. I guarantee you, they’re never right. Especially not in a year like this when nobody knows what will happen from the very first pick.
The question today of Tyree Wilson is not whether or not you should be happy or mad when a mock draft connects the Seahawks to Wilson. You should never have any emotional reaction to a mock draft. You shouldn’t even say, “That’s wrong” or “That’s right”, refer to the previous point: Mock drafts never right or wrong. They’re fiction. You should read mock drafts almost the same way that you would read a recipe for soup; if you like an ingredient use it, if you don’t like an ingredient, don’t use it, if you think an ingredient is missing, add it.
But nobody reads a recipe for soup and screams, “No! NO! NOT CARROTS! DAMN IT! THIS SHOULD NEVER HAVE CARROTS!!! HAS “INA GARTEN” EVER HEARD OF…CELERY??!?! IDIOT!”
You don’t root for or against the outcome of a recipe. You agree or disagree with your desired soup ingredients…and then you move on.
The reason I’m writing this post today is not to tell you that Tyree Wilson will or won’t be going to Seattle; it’s not to tell you if you should or shouldn’t want that; it’s not to get angry at mock drafters for writing fictional stories in which Wilson gets picked by the Seahawks.
It’s simply that I keep seeing Tyree Wilson’s name and now I want to know a bit more about Wilson and the history of players like Wilson. My hope is that many of you have been wondering the same and want some additional information too, leading into two and a half more months of seeing Tyree Wilson’s name next to the Seahawks.
This is a look at Tyree Wilson. Nothing more.
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Tyree Wilson, Texas Tech
Every prospect has some trait or quality that will get beaten to death ahead of the draft and for Wilson that is unique size and length.
6’6, 270 (pre-combine)
An estimate at NFL Draft Buzz puts Wilson at 35 5/8” arms and 86” wingspan. If true, that wingspan would indeed be unique. Last year’s longest wingspan for edge players came in at 83 5/8” by Jeremiah Moon, trailed closely by Kingsley Enagbare and Drake Jackson. Those players were just over 6’4, just over 6’3, and just over 6’2, respectively. Wilson is expected to measure at 6’6.
Aidan Hutchinson, the 2022 draft’s tallest edge player at 6’6 and a half, had 32” arms and a 78” wingspan. Much shorter than Wilson. The only other 6’6 player was Logan Hall, the first pick of round two.
It’s not as easy to find historically unique wingspans as it is to look up 40-yard dash times. But at least in recent history, I can only find some offensive linemen who measured above 86”: Jackson Carman and Matt Peart. As to arm length, only Moon went over 35” among defensive linemen.
Moon, an unproductive six-year player at Florida, went undrafted. He also measured at 6’2 and 245, not 6’6 and 270.
The fact is that similar to edge players not being drafted early out of the Big-12 very often, it’s not easy to find that many 6’6 edge players in the NFL. Hutchinson is one of only 22 drafted players from the 2022 season who measured in at 6’6 or taller at the combine. Of those, Hutchinson is one of only six first round picks, only half of whom were drafted in the top-25: Hutchinson, DeForest Buckner, and Marcus Davenport.
Hutchinson had a decent combine performance, but his draft status was largely predicated on a Heisman-worthy senior season at Michigan that included 16.5 TFL, 14 sacks, and three batted passes.
Teams drafting more based on athleticism than college production would instead favor Travon Walker, who had similar size to Wilson (6’5, 272) and ran a 4.51 in the 40-yard dash with a 123” broad jump; notably, Hutchinson was faster than Walker in the 3-cone and short shuttle and he had a higher vertical.
In fact, Boye Mafe (6’4, 261) had a higher vertical (38”), broad jump (125”) and ran a 4.53.
Hutchinson had a good rookie season but more time is needed to assess the quality of him as the second overall pick in the draft. Buckner is a star interior player, but would an NFL team consider using Tyree Wilson as a 3-tech? Draft analyst Jon Ledyard notes that Wilson (23 years old) played about 20-30 percent of his snaps head up or inside the tackle and projects him as an interior pass rusher on nickel packages.
As to the other edge rushers who are 6’6 or taller, there aren’t many stars apart from Calais Campbell and Montez Sweat, a group that includes Payton Turner, Taco Charlton, A.J. Epenesa, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Carl Nassib, Henry Anderson, and William Gholston. Here you will also find Carlos Dunlap.
But notably, size and length has never been enough to get an edge rusher drafted in the first round, especially not in the top-5 or top-10.
If Wilson measures 6’6 with the longest arms and wingspan at the combine, that’s fine. But if he runs a reported estimate of 4.80-4.85, he will have fallen into the same range as Enagbare, Hall, and Seattle’s own Tyreke Smith from last year’s draft. Smith and Enagbare were fifth round picks, not fifth overall picks.
Hall ran a 4.88 and went 33rd overall.
People will say, “But Wilson is 270 lbs and those palyers are under 260” but ultimately you are either covering ground at a certain speed or you are not. Wilson already wins with power and slippery moves and that’s fine, but we aren’t talking about players that Seattle is considering at the end of the first round like usual. This is a top-five pick.
Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa also ran a 4.81 at 270 lbs last year, a 2022 undrafted free agent. I’m not comparing Wilson to any of these players, I’m simply noting that Wilson’s unique trait needs more complements to keep moving him up the board; it can’t exist on its own and be a reason for someone to be drafted this highly.
2021-2022 totals: 27.5 TFL, 14 sacks in 23 games
Over the past two seasons, Wilson ranked in a five-way tie for the 15th-most tackles for a loss (27.5) in Division-I with Calijah Kancey (a DT at Pitt), Vince Sanford (a LB at Air Force), Chris Ojoh (a LB at New Mexico State), and Thomas Incoom (Central Michigan).
No player came close to Alabama’s Will Anderson (48 TFL, 27.5 sacks in 28 games) over the past two seasons. The closest in TFL was Jordan Ferguson & Ivan Pace at 33.5 TFL, Isaiah Foskey at 20.5 sacks.
In the Big-12, Wilson ranked fifth in sacks behind Felix Anudike-Uzomah (19.5), Will McDonald, Collin Oliver, and Dylan Horton, but Oliver and Horton played in 27 games and were barely ahead of Wilson.
But Wilson ranked first in TFL, totaling one more than Brock Martin despite playing in two fewer games. On a per-game basis, Wilson had a nice little lead in the Big-12 over 2021-2022 on tackles for a loss. Is something like this predictive of future NFL success?
No. If Wilson is a top-five pick, it’s still more based on teams projecting him as a disruptive pass rusher against NFL tackles due to his size and athleticism—but that’s only if Wilson proves that he’s athletic at the combine. If he manages to break 4.7, that will say a lot more than if he simply does the expected and runs in the 4.8s. Consider that Kayvon Thibodeaux and Jermaine Johnson both ran 4.58 at 254 lbs last year, but Thibodeaux as the fifth overall pick had more going for him than Wilson from what we know so far in the 2023 draft process: Thibodeaux has been followed as a prospect since high school, he tore up the Pac-12 as a true freshman, he entered the draft two years younger than Wilson, and reports indicate Wilson won’t test as well as Thibodeaux did in 2022.
Conversely, Tyree Wilson was a three-star recruit in 2018, redshirted, made his college debut in 2019 at Texas A&M, transferred to Tech in 2020, and didn’t become a starter until his fourth year in college. Once there, Wilson was not a game wrecker and he will have done less than many others in a conference that is not known for producing elite pro pass rushers.
Reminder: Collier and Irvin.
I went back to find the best two-year TFL and sack totals from Big-12 edge players from the last 10 years and these were the top names: Will McDonald (a 2023 prospect out of Iowa State), Joseph Ossai, Wyatt Hubert, Nik Bonitto, Shawn Oakman, Jordan Willis, Emmanuel Ogbah, Ogbannia Okoronkwo, Dorance Armstrong, Ben Banogu, Jordan Brailford, JaQuan Bailey, Ronnie Perkins, and Charles Omenihu.
Many of them were more productive than Wilson, some at earlier rates of college development, though none of them had the advantages in size and length that could carry Tyree Wilson to an impressive pro career.
Is this me saying that Wilson won’t be a top-five pick or a good NFL player? No. As always, I just observe and report. These are the observations and the reports. Wilson needs to justify his place as a top-10 pick based on more than length and there are some web-based scouts who say that the film shows a very disruptive pass rusher and a player who got better in run defense during his fifth NCAA season.
Of course, the problem with web-based scouts is that you can’t adequately judge a player based on a handful of hand-picked plays. Consistency is key, not just game to game, but play to play, especially when rating the very best prospects in a class. Wilson had two sacks against NC State’s Devin Leary, two sacks against Kansas State’s Adrian Martinez, and one sack against Oklahoma State’s Spencer Sanders. In 13 of 21 games against FBS schools over the last two years, Wilson had zero sacks or shared in a sack.
When talking about absolute college game wreckers, Will Anderson did that week to week in a tougher conference that has produced a lot more top tier pass rushers and draft picks. In fact, Anderson’s 31 TFL and 17.5 sacks in 2021 alone would rank more than most two year totals for any other player in the country, including Wilson.
I think this goes back to something else I’ve been speculating over the past month: It’s a weak draft class. There might not be any defensive players worth getting too hyped up for in the top-10 picks apart from Anderson and Jalen Carter and that’s one reason that Wilson keeps getting connected to the Seahawks: When you project those two in the top-four picks, you fall back on the next-best thing.
If Wilson is the next best thing, it doesn’t mean that he’s destined to be a bust or have an underwhelming career. It could mean that if Anderson and Carter are off the board, and if the Seahawks are content with passing on the available quarterbacks, that Seattle’s comfortable with and actively seeking a trade.
Barring an unexpected boost at the NFL Scouting Combine, it does not yet seem like Wilson measures up to past top-five edge rushers.
I wouldn’t say it’s a weak draft class. It seems it may be weak at the top, but deep throughout. Of course weak at the top stinks when your team has a top five pick.
Solid breakdown of Wilson's stock at this point in the process. He gets talked up a lot right now, but I don't think he's nearly as secure in his "top 10" status as some are projecting. His body type is remarkable, which is great. But body type is one part of evaluation. So are physical talent, tape, character, and medicals. The combine is going to be very important for Wilson.
One thing I do want to mention is that 40-yard dash is not quite the right metric here. Speed is important, and long speed in an edge rusher is cool. But it's not necessary and is sort of dependent on body type. What really matters for lineman are two things: 10 yard split, and agility. Other people have broken this down better than I can, but generally something that elite edge rushers have in common is a 10 yard split in the 1.5s. This measures the time it takes a player to get out of their stance and accelerate 10 yards, a veeeeeery practical thing to measure for lineman.
My point on this isn't to quibble over nothing, but to make sure we put whatever results he puts out into proper context. I couldn't care less if he runs a 4.81 like Tyreek Smith if he puts up a 1.55 10 yard split.