Raiders’ Antonio Pierce Doesn’t Hold Back On Christian Wilkins

Antonio Pierce, Christian Wilkins, Las Vegas Raiders
NFL Analysis Network

The Las Vegas Raiders landed defensive lineman Christian Wilkins in free agency last month, and head coach Antonio Pierce is thrilled about the acquisition.

While speaking on Wilkins, Pierce said that the former Miami Dolphins star should have a ripple effect.

“[Wilkins’ presence] makes life easier for us as coaches, I’ll tell you that,” Pierce said, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. “When you get good players, it makes life easy. But what it does, along with the other gentlemen that we brought back, John Jenkins and Adam Butler, that’s a lot of depth to that D-line room. … That’s going to be our strong point of our team. From one to 10, we feel really good with those guys.”

Wilkins is coming off of a spectacular 2023 campaign in which he played every game and racked up 65 tackles, nine sacks, a forced fumble and a couple of fumble recoveries.

“But Christian, the energy, man, the personality, the love for the game,” continued Pierce. “And now we’ve got somebody on the front [to match] with Maxx Crosby. Full-blown effort for 60 minutes. And that’s what we’re looking for. I think for us to get a player of his caliber, the way he’s played over the last, really his entire career, it’s going to be a blessing for Raider Nation.”

Wilkins, who played his collegiate football at Clemson, was selected by the Dolphins with the 13th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.

After a couple of solid seasons to begin his career, the 28-year-old broke out in 2021, registering 89 tackles, 4.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He doubled down with another strong year in 2022, finishing with 98 stops, 3.5 sacks, a pair of forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and six passes defended.

On top of that, Wilkins has played in every game for the last three years.

The Raiders’ defense certainly improved once Antonio Pierce took over as head coach midway through last season, and now with Christian Wilkins in the fold, the future is looking even brighter for Las Vegas’ defensive unit heading into 2024.

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