3 Cleveland Browns players who need to step up after the bye

• WR in a contract year

• A veteran running back could make the difference

• Deshaun Watson needs time to throw

Tennessee Titans v Cleveland Browns
Tennessee Titans v Cleveland Browns / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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1. Jedrick Wills, LT

No player on this roster has had more criticism thrown their way over the past two seasons than Jedrick Wills, Jr. The 10th overall pick in 2020, Wills successfully transitioned to the left side of the line after spending his Alabama career at right tackle.

While he was incredibly promising during that rookie campaign, he's trending in the wrong direction since and 2023 is not off to a hot start.

Not only does he have the lowest PFF grade of his career (45.4 overall) but he's also surrendered more pressure on the quarterback in the first four games than he did his entire rookie season.

For the past several years, Cleveland has been widely praised for the performance of their offensive line. However, much of that was due to their dominance in the running game — which we now see was aided greatly by Nick Chubb's ability to find the tiniest of holes to burst through.

As for their pass protection, this has been an issue for a while. They have been far from the worst team in the NFL but Jacoby Brissett and Deshaun Watson were both under pressure a lot in 2022. And this year, Watson continues to find himself evading defenders nearly as soon as he takes the snap.

With Jack Conklin out, the Browns are already down to one reserve in the lineup full-time — although Dawand Jones has been better than expected. That means they really need Wills to fight through this and return to the player we saw in 2020.

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