Oakland Raiders: Christo Bilukidi

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The line between being stung by being cut and feeling wanted by someone else is a fine one indeed.

It's also one about to be walked by new Raiders linebacker Martez Wilson, who was claimed off waivers from the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday and practiced Thursday with Oakland.

"A new beginning, that's the best way to do it," Wilson said. "You don't forget your past but you let it fuel you, to where a new beginning is about to start. Just take over and dominate."

[+] EnlargeRyan Tannehill
Crystal LoGiudice/USA TODAY SportsMartez Wilson had four tackles, including this sack of Ryan Tannehill, in four games with the Saints this season.
That path, though, won't be traversed this week. Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Wilson will not have had enough practice time to suit up against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

But there is a reason the Raiders essentially chose Wilson, a third-round draft pick out of Illinois in 2011, over defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi, who was a member of Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie's first draft class as a sixth-rounder out of Georgia State in 2012.

"There are some athletic things that (Wilson) does pretty well," said Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. "He's shown the ability to rush the passer. It's a new team for him, so all we know is what he does from this point forward.

"In the future we'd like to see what he's going to do in practice. Then we'll teach him the scheme and see what he can do."

In New Orleans, Wilson played on the outside in the Saints' 3-4 scheme. With the Raiders, who play a 4-3, he will play as a strongside linebacker.

"I can play every linebacker position there is: on the line of scrimmage, off the line of scrimmage, I can blitz, I can rush," Wilson said. "So I feel like the more I'm capable of showing ... the coaching staff that I can play and I'm very versatile with my ability, the sky's the limit."

In two-plus seasons with the Saints, Wilson had five sacks and 30 tackles, two passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Raiders cornerback Tracy Porter played with Wilson in New Orleans in 2011.

"I definitely seen flashes of his athletic ability and the potential that he had, to provide sacks for us and cause fumbles and rushes on the quarterback," Porter said. "So I know the potential that he has and I'm excited that he's here."

As is, the 6-foot-4, 252-pound Wilson.

"It's been great so far," he said. "The coaches seem very excited. The players have been very warm welcoming.

"Man, I'm just excited and ready to ball out."
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Bittersweet, or simply the nature of the business?

I asked Raiders coach Dennis Allen this in the wake of Oakland cutting a member of the first draft class in the Allen/Reggie McKenzie Era: defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi. The move was made to to make room for linebacker Martez Wilson.

Bilukidi
“Really,” Allen said, “it's the nature of the business. This is a production business and we're going to continue to try to do everything we can to upgrade our roster to help our football team. We felt like being able to take a look at Martez was a good chance for us to upgrade the roster.”

No doubt Bilukidi was a project when the Raiders used a 2012 sixth-round draft pick on the Georgia State product, the fifth player ever taken by McKenzie and Allen.

And while Bilukidi appeared in 13 games as a rookie and five more this season, getting a sack of Jacksonville's Chad Henne in the Raiders' home opener, it was not enough.

“No,” Allen said, when asked if he had, indeed, seen enough to warrant keeping Bilukidi and his sack.

In fact, small sample size and health issues be damned, you could say the same about that entire first draft class, which was already stretched thin due to trades under the previous regime that left the Raiders without a pick until the end of the third round.
  • Offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom, who was taken with a compensatory pick at No. 95 overall and played in nine games while starting the season finale, was placed on Injured Reserve before the season began with a Lis Franc injury to his right foot.
  • Linebacker Miles Burris, who started 15 of the 16 games in which he played, is on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform List after offseason knee surgery, though Allen said he hopes Burris will begin practicing next week.
  • Defensive end Jack Crawford has already played in more games this season than last -- five to four -- and has six tackles after having three last season.
  • Receiver Juron Criner has yet to be active for a game this season, Bilukidi was cut and linebacker Nathan Stupar is a special teams contributor for the San Francisco 49ers. He was was cut by the Raiders before last year's season opener.

In fact, two undrafted rookie free agents from 2012 start for Oakland now: receiver Rod Streater and left guard Lucas Nix.

“I think part of the draft process is picking up some players, and if you have numbers and volumes of players, your percentages of hitting on those guys are pretty good,” Allen said.

“I think we'll see some good things, not only out of the 2012 guys, but some of these guys we drafted this past season. I think that as we keep moving down the road, I think those guys will help us.”

Just not right away.
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders claimed linebacker Martez Wilson off waivers from the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday and waived second-year defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi in the corresponding roster move.

Wilson, a third-round draft pick of the Saints out of Illinois in 2011, has appeared in 33 games in his career, including four this season, in New Orleans’ 3-4 defense. He has five career sacks, one this season off Miami’s Ryan Tannehill, 30 tackles, two passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

The Raiders, though, play out of a base 4-3 defense, so it is assumed his most immediate impact will come on special teams.

Bilukidi, meanwhile, was the first player ever drafted out of Georgia State when the Raiders took him with a sixth-round pick in 2012. He appeared in 13 games as a rookie and five this season, sacking Jacksonville’s Chad Henne in Week 2.

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