MAURA DOOLEY’s Zierlein: Why Tyree Wilson would be great for Seahawks at No. 5

Apr 11, 2023, 11:27 AM | Updated: 12:38 pm

Seattle Seahawks draft Tyree Wilson...

Texas Tech DL Tyree Wilson takes the field for a Dec. 5, 2020 game. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

(Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)

Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson became a very familiar name to Seattle Seahawks fans poring over mock drafts in January and February, but his name has slowly disappeared in recent projections for Seattle’s No. 5 pick.

So what happened?

When the NFL combine came around in March, some of the other prospects commonly linked to the Seahawks at fifth overall, such as Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson and Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson Jr., posted impressive performances.

Another potential Seahawks option, Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, skipped the combine workouts and opted to work out at Georgia’s pro day instead. It did not go well, as he showed up nine pounds heavier and reportedly struggled to finish drills. However, it has kept a debate going as to whether his elite talent outweighs the red flags that have surfaced recently.

ESPN draft analyst Matt Miller: Seattle Seahawks ‘best-case scenario’ for Carter

Meanwhile, things were very quiet on the Tyree Wilson front as he recovered from a fractured foot. It seemed as if he was out of sight, out of mind when it came to draft buzz, but on March 24 news broke that Wilson was medically cleared by his doctor and would schedule a workout for teams in mid-April. With Wilson’s chance to showcase his skills on the horizon, draft analyst Lance Zierlein joined Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk on Monday and told them not to count Wilson out as an option for the Seahawks’ first draft pick.

Zierlein has Carter going to the Seahawks at No. 5 in his latest mock draft but says Wilson would be a no-brainer there as well.

“To me, if Tyree Wilson was there, I wouldn’t blink an eye,” Zierlein said (listen in the podcast player below). “I would just go Tyree Wilson. Boom, done. He’s a Seahawk. Let’s go. That’s also obviously a position of need. You’ve got two potentially outgoing edges with expiring contracts. Tyree Wilson, to me, would make a lot of sense and he’s got the traits that (Seahawks general manager) John Schneider really covets. It’s easier to get one at five if Tyree Wilson’s there than to try and get one at 20.”

Some of Wilson’s impressive traits that Zierlein was referencing include his 6-foot-6, 271-pound frame with an 86-inch wingspan.

Brock Huard asked Zierlein what a great performance at his workout could accomplish for Tyree Wilson.

“I would tend to agree with you that his traits are his traits,” Huard said. “He’s got long arms. He punctures the line of scrimmage and has a kind of flexibility within this (Seahawks) scheme to play 3-4 end or even outside linebacker and hold down the fort at times. There’s plenty to plug and play. But I would think, Lance, the difference between him running a 4.9 in his forty-yard dash or a 4.6, and the difference between him posting a 31-inch vertical or a 36-inch vertical… all of a sudden now he becomes a bona fide top-five pick.”

Zierlein agreed, and in fact said that he thinks Wilson putting up that kind of performance is almost a foregone conclusion.

“I’m working off the assumption that he is going to do that, Brock,” said Zierliein. “That’s why I have him projected as the fifth- or sixth-best player in the draft. I’m already assuming that’s going to be the case just from watching tape, watching him close people out on the back side, seeing how explosive he can be when it comes to short-area bursts. I’m thinking that’s what it’s going to be, but you’re right, for some people, if you’re working off of a neutral guess on who he is as an athlete, scoring that is really going to help.”

Not only does Zierlein think that Tyree Wilson could be catapulting himself back into top five discussions, he believes he may even have a chance to leapfrog Anderson in the first round.

“I know three different teams right now who have Tyree Wilson over Will Anderson,” Zierlein said. “I think that NFL teams may not look at Will Anderson with the same level of exaltation as the rest of us.”

Why could Wilson have a potential edge on Anderson, a guy that has a great combine performance to his credit, glowing character reports and no health issues?

“It’s a thing where you wonder how much more you’re going to get out of Alabama players,” said Zierlein. “They’re so well coached, and the physical training – I mean, the training center that they have and the psychological stuff that they do, they’re just really advanced at Alabama. They get a lot out of their players while they’re in college.

“One consideration you always have is Alabama players tend to come out with some nicks and bruises, and a lot of times (they) need surgeries. The other thing is, some people believe they’re as good as they’re going to be in college so you’re not going to see a lot of growth. The exact opposite is true with Tyree Wilson. A lot of people believe he has the traits. He’s bigger, he’s explosive and he’s still got room to get a lot better from a technique standpoint.”

We are still awaiting word on the exact date of Wilson’s pro day, so it remains to be seen just how much he can separate himself from the other top defensive prospects. In the meantime, the Seahawks are getting to know Carter better this week with a pre-draft visit at team headquarters.

Just over two weeks until the NFL Draft, it’s clear that there is still a lot of information for the Seahawks to process, and these talented defensive standouts will certainly be strong considerations.

More Seattle Seahawks draft coverage

Huard: What the Seattle Seahawks will look to get out of Jalen Carter visit
Seattle Seahawks Draft: BYU QB Jaren Hall has Russell Wilson traits
Rost: Seattle Seahawks don’t need to trade back from 5, and they shouldn’t
Seattle Seahawks GM John Schneider talks latest Jalen Carter news
Seattle Seahawks Draft Profile: K-State pass rusher Felix Anudike-Uzomah

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