Through one year, Jedrick Wills falls behind OT drafted after him

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The Cleveland Browns had a great season and Jedrick Wills was a part of it. Drafting Wills, along with the addition of Jack Conklin and the development of Wyatt Teller, made sure there were no weak spots on the Browns offensive line.

Philosophically, some believe having no weak links is more important than having top-flight talent. It is uncertain if Cleveland subscribes to this philosophy but their line in 2020 fulfilled it.

Wills was the second offensive tackle drafted in the 2020 NFL draft behind Andrew Thomas. Mekhi Becton and Tristan Wirfs were drafted one and three picks after Wills. Becton flashed while on a bad team while Wirfs thrived on the Super Bowl champions.

Continuing with our coverage of ESPN’s ranking of players (subscriber, $) leads us to an interesting development after one season. Wills is not mentioned even among the honorable mention nor did he receive any votes. Becton, on the other hand, was ranked sixth overall while Wirfs was two spots lower:

As a rookie in Tampa Bay, Wirfs played with the savvy of a Pro Bowler in his seventh season. His 89.1$ pass block win rate over 1,015 regular-season snaps was impressive, and that rate jumped to 98% in the playoffs.

As the piece mentions, Becton’s selection seemingly included some future projection from voters and Wirfs benefited from playing with Tom Brady, who gets the ball out quickly. It is also important to note that Becton or Wirfs may not have looked as good as Wills if either was drafted by the Browns. Situations often dictate the narrative around a ranking decided by votes.

Through one season, Wills may not be viewed as high as the other two drafted shortly after him but Cleveland did not draft him only for 2020. Instead, it will be interesting to continue to compare Wills to Becton, Wirfs and Thomas over the next 5-10 seasons.

For the Browns, Conklin did receive votes but did not fall among the top ten in the league:

“He’s not naturally gifted like some on this list, but he’s a powerful people mover. Good technician. Won’t be a Hall of Famer, but quality, [you] know what you’ll get.” — AFC coach

Wills and Conklin, along with Teller’s development made sure the Browns didn’t have a weak link on the offensive line. In 2021, can the young Wills surpass those drafted after him and become a top ten level tackle in the NFL? The Browns hope so and would be thrilled to see it.