The Raiders announced late last evening that they had signed OLB Martez Wilson, recently cut by the Saints so they could sign QB Ryan Griffin, and waived DT Christo Bilukidi. Bilukidi’s cut comes as a surprise after being drafted in the sixth round last year by McKenzie. Reggie has shown a tendency to cut players, even those that he drafted, if it means that the team is improving. Bilukidi was the first player drafted out of Georgia State University in NFL history and had shown potential along the defensive line, even notching a sack against Alex Smith, but he was buried in the depth chart and unable to really make a name for himself. He is still a promising prospect at defensive tackle and it would make sense if he re-signs with the Raiders’ practice squad.
Martez Wilson was a third-round draft pick for the Saints in 2011. He is an incredible athlete at 6’4″, 252 lbs, but he constantly teased fans with inconsistent play. He played for three different defensive coordinators in his three seasons and was forced to change positions a lot between defensive end and outside linebacker and never seemed comfortable in any role. There were hopes for the team that Wilson’s play would improve with DC Rob Ryan, but because of a preseason injury to his elbow, he never seemed comfortable in the defense. He was set to play OLB in Ryan’s 3-4 defense, but because of game situations, the Saints haven’t lined up much in their base defense this season; Wilson was often the player left on the sidelines in these plays.
Despite minimal stats through his career (5 sacks, 33 tackles, 1 forced fumble), Wilson enters a situation where he could potentially thrive. Tarver’s defense often sends pass rushers from every level of the field, an area where Wilson has potential. Dennis Allen was on the Saints’ staff when Wilson was drafted, so he is likely to understand Wilson’s potential perhaps more than anyone outside of New Orleans. His production has never matched his potential throughout his career, but it is a low-risk, high-reward signing that could pay off huge for the Raiders. Despite a revamped pass rush, the Raiders are in need of an impact pass rusher; Lamarr Houston, the team’s best rusher, has just 3.0 sacks on the season (t-47th in the NFL), and could be served very well by having another pass rusher on the team that is actually capable of producing.