The Cleveland Browns are entering the final stages of their 2023 training camp and are starting to mix things up. During a practice session on Sunday, the Browns shuffled their second-team offensive line around.
The biggest move, literally and figuratively, was Dawand Jones getting practice reps at left tackle as first reported by Camryn Justice.
Up until Sunday, Jones had been exclusively playing at right tackle, which is also the same spot he occupied on Ohio State’s offensive line during his final two years at the university. However, Jones did play left tackle at Ohio State during his freshman and sophomore years and started seven games over that span. In his 170 snaps as a left tackle at OSU, Jones only allowed one quarterback hurry and one sack.
There could be several reasons for cross-training Jones this late into training camp. Obviously, the Browns envisioned Jones playing right tackle when they drafted him early on day three of the 2023 NFL Draft. But if the coaches, and Bill Callahan in particular, believe that Jones is ahead of schedule in his development then this might just be them putting more on his plate.
As the season draws near, getting Jones looks on the left side of the line could also be in preparation for an eventual role as the team’s swing tackle. The switch on Sunday also put James Hudson, who has been the second-team left tackle, at offensive guard. Hudson spent the 2022 season as the Browns swing tackle, but with him getting looks at guard it could spell the end of that role if Jones picks it up quickly.
However, it shouldn't be overlooked that the Browns could be starting to set up the dominoes for a move that will not take place until 2024 or 2025. Given the contractual situation the Browns are facing with Jedrick Wills, having a player in the wings to take over the left tackle position if they choose to move on from Wills would put the team in an extremely advantageous position.
Whatever the team’s motivations are for getting Jones practice repetitions at left tackle, it cannot be argued that his expanding his skill set is a bad thing. It could also be as simple as the adage ‘the more that you can do’, and the Browns think Jones is ready for a larger role. Either way, watching Jones develop this preseason has been a ton of fun, and we should all be excited to see if he can reach his sky-high ceiling.