2022 is a big year for Cleveland Browns left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr.
Jedrick Wills Jr has had an up and down career. 2022 is shaping up to be a very important year for the Cleveland Browns left tackle.
The Cleveland Browns have had one of the best offensive lines in football the last few seasons. Shining stars such as Joel Bitonio, Wyatt Teller, and Jack Conklin helped pave the way for success on the ground and in the air. In the 2020 NFL Draft, the Browns took Alabama prospect Jedrick Wills Jr with the 10th overall pick.
At the time, the pick was deemed a success by national media and Cleveland’s own Joe Thomas. However, since his rookie year Wills has honestly been a bit rocky at the left tackle position. There have been flashes but numerous questions remain as we head into the 2022 season
Overall issue: Lack of consistency
To be a Pro Bowl/All-Pro player in the NFL, you have to be consistent. That is something that hasn’t come easy for Wills. Pro Football Focus graded him out at a mediocre 61.5 in 2020 and 66.1 in 2021.
He dealt with an ankle injury in 2021 that affected his play, but at the end of the day Wills has been average so far in his career and that doesn’t cut it since he was a top10 pick in the draft.
It also doesn’t help that Mekhi Becton and Tristian Wirfs were selected after Wills, and they’ve performed better so far in their career (although Becton dealt with injuries in 2021). That puts even more pressure on Wills to be more consistent.
Adding to his lack of consistency, Wills has also had issues with penalties and giving up sacks. In 2020 he had 11 penalties and gave up four sacks and in 2021 he had four penalties and gave up five sacks.
To put that in perspective, Wirfs had three penalties and gave up only one sack in 2020 and had three penalties and gave up two sacks in 2021. These stats are troubling, especially since Wills was drafted higher than Wirfs. In 2021, Wills had a 67.9 pass-blocking grade and a 61.5 run-blocking grade, both extremely lackluster. Overall, he has struggled more as a run blocker in his NFL career.
What can be done to bounce back in 2022
Lucky for Wills, his mental mistakes can be fixed if he puts the work in and really takes in the coaching from Bill Callahan, arguably the best offensive line coach in NFL history. A lot of his issues are only fixed from within. His ankle injury in 2021 gives him a slight pass, but there is still plenty to improve on.
He also needs to work on his footwork and the angles he takes against defenders, particularly in the run game. There were too many times in 2021 that Wills got beat by the defender and it resulted in a negative run.
That just cannot happen, especially with how high he was drafted. 2022 is going to test his work ethic. maybe more than it has ever been tested.
There is no doubt that Wills has an immense amount of talent. He has flashed countless times and has the potential to be a Pro Bowl/All-Pro player, he just needs to put together a consistent season.
If he doesn’t bounce back in 2022, Andrew Berry will have a tough decision to make in the near future.