Thoughts & Prayers To Anyone Trying To Block The Raiders Now That Christian Wilkins Has Joined Maxx Crosby In Vegas

Christian Wilkins
NFL Network

The Las Vegas Raiders are really about to get nasty like that. Maxx Crosby has made it known that they are coming after the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes. What better way for Raiders new GM Tom Telesco to back up those fighting words and the vow to play fast and violent than by signing Miami Dolphins superstar Christian Wilkins on Day 1 of free agency?

Wilkins simply priced himself out of Miami and left a gaping void in the Dolphins defense that could legitimately cost them a playoff berth unless they have a great draft. Meanwhile, Las Vegas gained an invaluable locker room leader with charisma to burn, a relentless play style and flat-out one of the elite interior defensive linemen in all of football.

Defensive-minded head coach Antonio Pierce is clearly bringing a certain swagger to these Raiders. With Jim Harbaugh coaching the Chargers now and the Chiefs continuing their dynasty, Wilkins is the shot in the arm Las Vegas needed to try to keep pace in the AFC West.

Crosby is a legit top-five EDGE defender in the sport, and I’d argue Wilkins is in that conversation at his position. The exotic fronts and stunts that dynamic duo could execute will keep offensive coordinators up into the wee hours of the morning, exhaustively combing over fine details in their pass protection game plans to account for them.

Furthermore, the Raiders got a pleasantly surprising eight sacks from Malcolm Koonce last season, which was part of the reason No. 7 overall pick Tyree Wilson didn’t have a massive rookie-year impact. If Koonce maintains his current trajectory, and Wilson can take even a modest step forward in Year 2, suddenly Las Vegas has perhaps the most terrifying sub-package pass-rushing unit in the NFL.

Exciting as this is for Raider Nation, let’s be honest: Wilkins’ signing doesn’t mean sh*t if they can’t get the quarterback right. Aidan O’Connell probably ain’t that dude. Las Vegas has the 13th overall pick. Spending big on Wilkins could suggest Las Vegas is eyeing a move up the board. They also have to account for the Broncos, who own the 12th pick and just cut loose new Steelers QB Russell Wilson.

Pierce used to coach at Arizona State, where LSU Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels started his collegiate career. Daniels is emerging as the consensus QB2, but it’s doubtful the QB-needy Commanders would trade out of that spot to fall all the way to No. 13. However, if the Commanders draft, say, Drake Maye instead, the Raiders could swoop in to grab Daniels at No. 3 if the Patriots are willing to trade the pick. Otherwise, Las Vegas might have to settle for second-tier options like JJ McCarthy, Michael Penix Jr. or Bo Nix.

All I know is, this Wilkins blockbuster deal came totally out of left field. The Raiders are not messing around. They’re going to have a cost-effective QB of some sort to lead them in 2024, and are clearly intent on building an elite defense to help combat in-division star QBs like Mahomes, Justin Herbert and the rest of the studly passers in the AFC.

Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey is among those reacting to the news of Wilkins to Vegas, as the general consensus seems to be that the 2019 first-rounder out of Clemson is going to feast alongside Crosby.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock