Cleveland Browns Rookie Spotlight: Jedrick Wills Jr.

Jedrick Wills Jr.
Nov 17, 2018; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Jedrick Wills Jr. (74) during the second half against The Citadel Bulldogs at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns took Jedrick Wills Jr. at number ten with every intention of him starting at left tackle. If you watched the draft or even highlights of the Browns pick, you saw they could not get to the pick in fast enough. The Andrew Berry led front office is ecstatic that Wills was there and is expecting a lot from the gifted tackle.

Why the Browns took Jedrick Wills Jr. at ten.

The answer here is simple, he was the top offensive tackle on their board, and they needed a left tackle. It seems just that simple, and it should be when drafting. That perfect mix of a top player and need fitting together, making a choice easy. It is not always this easy, but for the Browns, it was. Wills Jr. made it that way by excelling for Nick Saban at arguably the best college football program (Alabama), in arguably the best football conference (SEC) in the country.

Jedrick Wills Jr. showed up to Alabama as a freshman, instantly showing his talent by getting into 11 games. He would then take over as the starting right tackle as a sophomore and hold that job for 28 straight contests. In those 28 straight games, he gave up just one sack. During his junior season, Per Pro Football Focus (subscription required) Wills allowed pressure less than 4 percent of the time and had a run-blocking grade of 90.1. Wills is athletic and explosive, making him one of the top three tackles in the draft and a great pick for the Browns.

Expectations for 2020

Jedrick Wills Jr. was not taken tenth overall to sit on the sidelines. Should we have a 2020 season, Wills will start at left tackle on the Browns revamped front line. Like any rookie, he will have adjustments to make and struggle at times. The advantage that Wills has is Bill Callahan, one of the best offensive line coaches ever. Callahan has helped rookies not only adjust to the NFL, but also the change from the right side to the left that Wills will make. Wills has the size, strength, and elite athleticism to be an impact player as a rookie. Because of that, the transition to the left side should be much smoother. Baker Mayfield should have a strong blindside protector to ease his comfort in the pocket for 2020 and beyond.

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