The 2020 NFL Draft has come and gone with the Cleveland Browns selecting seven new players during the seven rounds. In the first round of the draft and their first pick, the Browns selected offensive tackle Jedrick Wills of Alabama at No. 10 overall. The 6-foot-4, 312-pound lineman started every game at right tackle in his last two seasons at Alabama.
Wills is expected to slot into the starting left tackle spot for the Browns. So, what are we to expect from this talented tackle? In this film room, I take a look at Wills’ game, examining his strengths and weaknesses. So, let’s take a look at what the Browns have in their first-round pick.
I considered Mekhi Becton of Louisville as the strongest and most powerful offensive tackle in the class, but Wills is right there with him in this area. He has powerful hands to toss defenders off their feet. He is a strong drive blocker, who pushes defenders back off their spot. When he faces a bull rush, he gives little to no ground, staying stout at the point of attack. He combines his movement skills to unload an explosive power that can really stun a defender. Here are some examples of his power and strength.
In the first play versus Auburn, Wills fires out of his stance and explodes into the opposing defender across from him on the line of scrimmage. His explosive power allows Wills to turn and pancake the defender inside, allowing the running back to run to his outside for a clear lane to the endzone. In the second play versus LSU, Wills is able to shove the opposing defensive lineman and turn him back almost immediately after the snap. Once that happens, Wills is able to push the defender back, creating a hole for the running back to run through. In the third play versus Ole Miss, Wills comes off quickly at the snap and fires a heavy punch to the defensive lineman across from him. That punch turns the defender and gets him off balance, causing the defender to get out of position when he tries to recover. Wills then sets up a wall between another defender and the running back, clearing the way for a lane for the runner. In the final play versus Michigan, he unloads his power and strength on two defenders in the play. He first explodes off the line and lays a powerful punch to the inside defensive lineman, causing the lineman to fly backward. Wills then gets to the second level, driving the defender back a handful of yards and eventually pancaking the defender.
I considered Wills as the offensive tackle with the best feet in the draft class. His feet are so smooth and efficient. He is able to shuffle them in a calm manner where they almost never cause him to get off balance or get a narrow base. He can move in either direction effortlessly and with good quickness to stay in front of any type of rusher. His feet help him be successful in both the run and pass blocking game. Here are some examples of his great feet.
In the first play versus Auburn, Wills is faced with a speed rush around the edge. He is able to smoothly and quickly move his feet with the rusher without losing his strong base and without falling behind the rusher. In the second play versus LSU, Wills shows off his quick feet to react to what is happening in front of him. Wills first is met by a rusher who tries to make an inside move on him. Wills easily handles him, but he is then quickly facing a blitzer on his outside around the edge. The offensive tackle is able to quickly shuffle his feet to transition to the blitzer, allowing him to push the blitzer out of the play before he can get any pressure. The last play versus Ole Miss is a great example of calm feet. The rusher tries to make a variety of fake moves to get the tackle off balance, but Wills is not giving in. He keeps his feet moving together, never allowing his feet to get tangled up. Wills easily takes care of the rusher because of this.
Just like his feet being the best in the draft class, I believed Wills’ technique was the best in the class. His technique is excellent. In almost every area of his game, his technique is almost perfect. He plays with a great base and feet, as I pointed out earlier. He uses good arm extension and hand usage to keep defenders off his body. And, he plays with excellent leverage where he stays in a good crouch, hardly ever getting upright or overextended as a blocker. He is just a clean technician. Here are some examples of his clean technique.
In the first play versus South Carolina, Wills puts on a technical show in this pass blocking set. He uses great arm extension to keep the rusher away from his body. He has great leverage and sets a strong, wide base throughout the rep with his feet moving in tandem. In the second play versus South Carolina, Wills is met by a rusher trying to beat the tackle with his hands, but Wills is ready. He makes the first contact in the battle, extending his strong arms in the chest of the rusher. He is able to keep his hands inside the chest of the rusher, keeping him from getting Wills off balance. While doing this, he is moving his feet, keeping a wide base throughout the rep. The last play versus Michigan, Wills shows off his great technique in the run game. He crashes inside off the snap to meet the inside defensive lineman at the line of scrimmage. Wills is quickly able to get inside the defender and turn him to the outside, walling off the inside for the running back to run through.
Wills has really good hands. His hands are where a lot of his power and strength comes from. He can toss players with powerful hands and lay heavy punches on a defender to stun them. He plays with good arm extension which allows him to control defenders, without allowing them to get to his body. His hands are quick and active. He fights with opposing rushers with active and quick hands, allows looking to adjust his positioning to get a better position on the defender. His hands are a true asset in his game. Here are some examples of his strong and active hands.
In the first play versus LSU, Wills shows off how his hands can stun a defender and take him out of his game. Wills starts the play firing a powerful jab at the rusher, thrusting the rusher’s upper body back. That jab completely threw the rusher’s plan out of the window. The rusher was trying to do a stutter step, misdirection rush, but Wills beat the rusher to the punch not allowing him to try anything special. In the second play versus South Carolina, he is able to use his hands to take advantage of the defender falling off balance. Wills was strong enough to force the defender to the ground with his powerful hands, taking advantage of the rusher getting a little too forward on his rush. The last play versus Ole Miss just shows off his powerful hands. Wills catches the rusher and punches the defender’s arm away with a powerful swat, causing the defender to fall to the ground. Wills then pancakes the defender.
His movement skills paired with the rest of his game make him the No. 1 offensive tackle in my rankings and one of the best tackles to come out in the last couple of classes. He moves very well and very smoothly. He shows an excellent burst to explode into defenders for the block. His movement skills allow him to transition onto different defenders with ease. He frequently gets to the second level in the run game, showing his mobility to get to the second-level defenders. His pass blocking is the top of the class due in part because of his fluid movement skills to mirror any rusher off the edge. Here are some examples of his movement skills.
In the first play versus LSU, Wills shows off his movement skills in the run game. He is able to follow his defender around the field, changing direction with relative ease. In the second play versus LSU, Wills displays his extremely quick movement skills to adjust on the fly. He comes off the line and fires into a defender at the line of scrimmage. But, he then sees a defender sneaking through the line to try and stop the run play. So, Wills quickly gets off his first block and catches the penetrating defender before he can get to the runner. He walls off the defender from the running back, allowing the runner to change directions and find a hole without being touched. For the last play versus South Carolina, Wills shows his ability to move to the second level in the run game. The play starts with Wills driving inside to blow up the inside defensive lineman. He then gets off that block, turns, and gets to the second level to take on an incoming defender. He is able to track this defender down the field in multiple directions so that defender cannot help in getting the run stop.
There were a few instances where Wills allowed some inside moves on rushes. He usually falls for this move when he overextends to play for the outside rush, leaving his weight on his back foot. He can allow a counter move to succeed because of this lapse. He also can just get too sloppy and expect the outside rush, leaving too much space inside for the rusher to go. I think it is just mental and technique lapses that can be shored up with better consistency. Here are some examples of these instances.
In the first play versus Auburn, Wills is faced with a rusher who looks to be going to the outside. But, the rusher actually spins and goes inside. He has too wide of a base and expects the outside rush too much, leaving his weight on his outside foot. This allows the rusher to slip through the inside lane and into the backfield. In the second play versus LSU, Wills is once again met by a spin move to the inside. He gets aggressive and tries to lay a jab to the rusher, but the rusher is already starting his move, causing Wills to whiff on the jab and get off balance to allow the inside lane to open for the rusher. In the final play versus Michigan, Wills simply gives too much room to the inside on this pass drop. He gets too far out wide too quickly, leaving an inside lane for the rusher to head towards. Though Wills recovers and gets in front of the rusher, he still allows the defender into the pocket in front of the quarterback.
The transition to left tackle is not a weakness, but rather an obstacle that Wills must overcome in his transition to the NFL. He played pretty much every snap of his college career on the right side of the line as a right tackle. He will now be asked to move to the left side to be the Browns left tackle. As the great Joe Thomas pointed out, it is very reasonable to switch sides between college and the pros. But, the transition still will take time, training, and coaching. It will not be easy. Wills will need to work all offseason to get comfortable with the left tackle position. His skill set should easily fit the left tackle position, but he still needs to work hard to make the move and be successful at left tackle.
(Jedrick Wills is No. 74 and lined up at RT on every play in each clip.)