As the 2020 NFL Draft nears I look at who I believe is the best tackle prospect available for the Cleveland Browns at the tenth pick.
The NFL Draft, in whatever ever form it happens is only a couple weeks away and mock drafts everywhere are making their weekly predictions of who goes where and at what number. Even the one considered slam-dunk of Joe Burrow going No. 1 overall to the Cincinnati Bengals has become subject to rumors of the Bengals willing to accept an offer for the pick if it’s extraordinary. However, what doesn’t change is what a team needs in the offseason.
For the Cleveland Browns, this need hangs heavy on offensive lineman, especially left and right tackle. Now, the Browns have addressed their need for a starting tackle in free agency with ex-Tennessee Titan stud Jack Conklin.
In signing with the team for $42 million over his three-year deal, Conklin adds a top-tier ability for pass blocking. However, the Browns still lack to starting-caliber left tackle. To that effect, I believe there’s one option that hangs above others and can become a day one key starter for the brown and orange.
Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama (JR, 6-foot-4, 312-pounds)
In short, if Jedrick Wills Jr. is on the board at No. 10, the Browns need to pick him. The Alabama standout is an excellent athlete, especially for his size. He has what may be the most agility on film of any tackle prospects, combining athletic feet with loose hips, and above-average positioning.
Wills is natural in the passing game and does a good job manipulating depth to cut off edge rushers while not breaking his natural base. This helps to mitigate Wills occasionally being late to identify an edge rush. If he has a weakness that can be exploited at the next level, it’s the outside rush recognition. However, with such a natural skill set and legendary coach like Bill Callahan, this is an issue that can be cleared up before Week 1.
What’s really exciting about former Under Armour All-American is his physicality. There is an aggressive nature and plain nastiness to Wills at the point of attack. This is especially apparent in run blocking and defending against bull rushes. Not only does he play to the whistle on every play, but he does so with an intensity that few at either the pro or college level can match.
While there’s rarely any pick in the draft that’s a certainty to succeed in the NFL, Jedrick Wills Jr. is the closest player in this draft. He has only the natural and technical abilities of a multiple-time Pro Bowl athlete. He obviously needs to be in a situation to succeed and remain relatively injury-free.
The Cleveland Browns need a lineman who can step in and protect their first true franchise quarterback in Baker Mayfield, Wills checks every possible box and should be at the very top of the Browns draft board.