Updated: May 5
By Chandler Adams
Cleveland Sports Analyst
For so many years now the Browns have had draft capital, but were not able to execute and turn it into anything. However, in the past few years they have managed to grab Baker Mayfield, Myles Garrett, Nick Chubb, and Denzel Ward - all cornerstone pieces of the massive rebuild from an 0-16 season. With a disappointing 2019 season, it was crucial that Andrew Berry and Co. got this draft right. The expression, "hit the nail right on the head" didn't ever fit a draft so perfectly. Not only did they get great value in every pick they made, but they addressed needs while still attacking the BPA (best player available). Let's take a deeper look into the Browns 2020 1st Round Pick: Jedrick Wills.
1st Round - Pick 10: Jedrick Wills Jr - OT Alabama
If the reaction by Joe Thomas, the best offensive tackle in NFL history, didn't get you excited about this pick, then I don't know what to tell you. If you were watching our live stream of the draft for the ATB Pod, then you saw that I was originally disappointed with the pick. It wasn't the fact that we took Wills that disappointed me. It was my infatuation with having Oklahoma wide receiver, CeeDee Lamb, on our roster. However, after a few deep breaths and some reassurance by my co-host, John Kaufman, I realized it was the smart pick.
What Do We Know About Wills?
The 6'4", 312 lbs. monster played 29 games at right tackle for the Crimson Tide. In 2018 & 2019 combined, he had 936 pass protection snaps and allowed only one sack and five quarterback hits. As far as pass protection goes, he's one of the best in this year's draft class. In the run game, Wills is a monster. In terms of "Big Time Blocks," he ranked #1 in the draft class (per PFF). His technique in the passing game is very good as well. He is exceptional in his first step, stays low, reads stunts easily, and his anchor against a bull rush is next-level. Joe Thomas said that Wills' balance and ability to recover on a block is phenomenal and can't be taught. His run blocking isn't far off - with his agility, strength and pure "nasty," he is going to dominate defensive lineman at the next level. Not many tackles have ever moved like Wills.
What Do We Need to See from Wills?
There really aren't many things not to love about Wills' game, but two things stand out. First, he played right tackle in college, but he is going to be sliding over to the left tackle spot in the NFL. Now, I was hesitant at first too, but Joe Thomas said, "He hasn't played enough snaps at the RT position to get the muscle memory to a point where it would be hard to switch...he will get more snaps in his first NFL season than he did in his college career," (per Cleveland Browns Daily). I'm going to trust the Hall of Fame left tackle on this one.
Second, he was pretty susceptible to moves on the inside (his left shoulder). It seemed like he was just getting complacent at times with his sets, and that's when he would fall into being vulnerable with inside moves. Maybe that was due to the fact that Alabama was up big most games and he was playing against lesser talent. I don't know. But that is something to keep an eye on for sure.
Wills' ability in open space is something to be very excited about, especially in the context of the Browns' new offensive scheme.
This picture from the Orange and Brown Report is a visual representation of the offensive line's duty in the outside zone run scheme.
Having a mobile and quick tackle is crucial in an outside zone scheme. A lot of times, the OT is going to have to get up to the second level of the defense and wall-off a defender there. (Or in Wills' case, he'd just knock them on their ass instead). Here is a perfect video showing Wills' ability to get to the second level.
Even though Kevin Stefanski's scheme is largely made up of outside zone plays, we will still see normal pass pro sets throughout each game. The 2019 Browns struggled week after week with poor play from their offensive tackles. To address that, they went out and got Jack Conklin in free agency and now getting Wills with the 10th pick in the draft makes two things very noticeable. One, they saw a glaring need and fixed it. Two, they plan on having the RUN set up Baker Mayfield and the pass game. Here is a quick video of Wills just simply walling-off in a pass pro set. Notice the quick first step and balance he shows.
This next one is just for fun. Look at the strength he possess on this play. With only one arm and just chucks the edge defender. The Browns went and got themselves a DAWG. Wills will be a LT for the Browns for years to come.
Across the Board Sports