Throughout the past couple of seasons, Cleveland Browns fans have been asking for a change at left tackle. They're about to get their wish but not in the way they hoped for.
Jedrick Wills, Jr. was the 10th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Alabama and moved from the right side of the line to the left. He performed well in this role as a rookie but has struggled mightily since then. The struggles grew to the point that there were rumors the Browns were looking at an upgrade at the trade deadline this year.
Cleveland wound up sticking with Wills but they now have to replace him for at least a month and a half since he was injured in Week 9 and subsequently placed on the IR. While the Browns said they expect him to return this season, the belief is that he will miss at least six weeks with an MCL sprain.
With Wills out, James Hudson III is slated to start at left tackle. A fourth-round pick out of Cincinnati in 2021, Hudson has seven career starts but has appeared in nearly every game over the past three seasons. He's also been asked to step in several times this year with Dawand Jones and Wills each having to head to the sideline with various injuries.
Hudson hasn't been great for the Browns and has typically struggled with pass protection. Even so, the coaching staff feels confident with him — but there are options should he struggle.
The primary choice would be Geron Christian, who was recently signed to the practice squad. Christian was a third-round pick in 2018 for Washington and spent three years with them before joining the Houston Texans in 2021.
Christian then headed to Kansas City for one year before heading back to Houston in 2023 but was released after just one game. Still, he has 16 career starts and 49 appearances. They also have Alex Leatherwood on the practice squad, who was a teammate of Wills in Alabama.
None of the options are ideal but the Browns will need someone to step up, especially with some tough games on the schedule over the next couple of weeks.