Browns should let Jack Conklin compete for starting spot at left tackle

Jedrick Wills has struggled at left tackle, so why not give Jack Conklin a shot?
Cleveland Browns, Jack Conklin
Cleveland Browns, Jack Conklin / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns seem to be more impressed with Jedrick Wills, Jr. than anyone else. They not only picked up his fifth-year option ahead of the 2023 season despite his struggles the previous year but also go into the 2024 season with no real competition for his spot.

Even with a loaded class of rookies, the Browns didn't take any offensive tackle prospects which means Wills is the starter once again at left tackle. It's hard to share the enthusiasm the front office seems to have given his massive struggles in pass protection and run blocking.

Cleveland is seemingly without options as Hakeem Adeniji and James Hudson III are their primary backups on the left side. But if Wills does struggle, they could also kick around the idea of moving Jack Conklin.

Jacob Roach of Browns Wire floated the idea of Conklin serving as the swing tackle after suffering a season-ending injury for the second straight year. Roach makes this suggestion due to the performance of Dawand Jones and points out that Conklin played on the left side collegiately for Michigan State.

"Though it has been a long time, Conklin was a standout left tackle in college, so he has the experience to back up both sides. You want to avoid stunting the growth of Dawand Jones by sitting him after a strong rookie campaign, which could play into the decision." — Roach, Browns Wire

Browns need the 5 best offensive linemen on the field

If the Browns trusted Conklin enough to use him at left tackle in a pinch, they should see if he can hold the job permanently. Doing so would put their five best linemen on the field with Conklin and Jones on the edges and Wyatt Teller, Joel Bitonio, and Ethan Pocic in the middle.

Conklin, who is coming off a torn ACL, is a two-time All-Pro who can open holes in the running game and hold his own in pass protection. He's not as agile as most left tackles but he has the football IQ to offer an improvement over Wills.

The coaching staff might not be ready to make such a change but if Wills doesn't improve, they might have their hand forced.

More Browns coverage