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Raiders former 7th overall pick EDGE Tyree Wilson enters first minicamp trying to block out expectations

As much as players and coaches like to preach that it doesn’t matter where you’re drafted in the NFL, it does. Certainly great players can come in any round or even undrafted. But where a player is drafted can either be used as motivation or carry the burden of expectations.

For Tyree Wilson, it was the latter that weighed on him as a rookie. His defensive line coach noticed Wilson was affected by the expectations that come with being selected 7th overall in the draft.

“You try to say your mind needs a bubble when you walk in this building but they’re young guys,” said Rob Leonard. “They know what’s being said. It’s the same thing I told Jaelon Phillips when he was a rookie, I said ‘it’s not your fault. God made you this way, you were built this way, and you were drafted seventh overall and expectations come with it.’… But his approach, his mentality is right on par with what you want.”

Though this is Wilson’s second season, it’s his first offseason because he missed OTA’s and minicamp while rehabbing a foot injury. He was considered a raw talent that would take a bit of time to get up to speed even if he’d been healthy. Ultimately it led to Wilson never really finding his way as a rookie.

This season, Wilson has the benefit of a host of mentors on the team. From Maxx Crosby and Christian Wilkins on the field, to former players like head coach Antonio Pierce and pass rush specialist Andre Carter on the staff.

Carter in particular has been able to impart his wisdom as a former 7th overall pick himself who had a 13-year NFL career.

“Obviously he was a high draft pick and you’re trying to do everything right, trying to do everything perfect,” said Carter. “I said I just want you to play football. And what does football incorporate? Playing fast. Well, how do you play fast? By practicing fast. And you see that now incorporating going into his second year and I spoke to him and said ‘look, you know the individual drill work. Now take the individuals to team (sessions). You now understand that you’re working with Wilkins, Maxx Crosby – learn and pick on their brains – Adam Butler who’s been an elite pass rush specialist for six-seven-eight years plus. Those are the guys that you really need to be on their hip. And I feel like it’s paying off for him.”

Should Wilson make the second year leap, he would give the Raiders one of the better edge rush rotations along with Crosby and Malcolm Koonce. As it happens, neither of whom had to worry about living up to high pick expectations as they were both mid-round selections.

Story originally appeared on Raiders Wire