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Raiders free-agent signing eager to mentor young defensive lineman

The Raiders hope adding free-agent defensive tackle Christian Wilkins will have a positive effect on second-year defensive lineman Tyree Wilson.

Wilkins believes he can be an asset to Wilson, the seventh overall pick in the 2023 draft. Wilkins himself didn’t have a standout rookie season after being the 13th overall pick in 2019. But he kept developing and earned a four-year, $110 million contract from the Raiders.

“I’m really excited to get around Tyree, truly because even with all this going on, I think about my journey and reflecting back on my path kind of getting here. And the way it looked for me my rookie year, I didn’t think I’d be in this position,” Wilkins said. “I didn’t think I’d be in front of you guys.”

Wilson’s offseason last year was wiped out by a foot injury he suffered his final season at Texas Tech.

It took him almost his entire rookie year to round back into football form, but he’s eager to get better. Wilkins saw Wilson working out at the Raiders’ facility the day Wilkins signed his contract.

“I’m definitely going to make it a goal of mine to help him out as much as I can, be there for him in any way he needs me,” Wilkins said. “Because I know how difficult it can be. The pressures and all that other stuff, the expectations and all that. So, I’m there for him in any way he needs because, like I said, I went through all of that and it was definitely a rough start for your boy, but I’m glad to be here. I didn’t get down about anything, just kept working, kept grinding.”

Contact Vincent Bonsignore atvbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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