Wyatt Teller’s startling impact on Browns offense earns him ‘most underappreciated’ honor

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At this time last year, one of the biggest concerns over the Cleveland Browns was the right guard position. The starter wasn’t certain and none of the candidates appeared to have high-end potential.

What a difference a year makes.

Not only did Wyatt Teller win the starting RG job, he flourished. Teller went from young journeyman to standout in his third season, part of an overhauled Browns offensive line that thrived in a new outside zone blocking scheme.

The radical improvement in his game earned Teller the nod as the Browns’ most underappreciated player from Cynthia Frelund at NFL.com. It’s an arbitrary (but good) choice of player, but the data behind it is what should really get Browns fans excited.

Here’s what Frelund wrote about Teller, citing NFL Next Gen Stats for the offense with and without him — Teller missed five games — in the lineup,

Last season, the Browns averaged 6.15 yards per play with Teller on the field versus 5.54 without him. Baker Mayfield was blitzed at a 35.7 percent rate with Teller on the field, but only felt pressure 17.8 percent of the time, per Next Gen Stats. Without Teller? Mayfield faced a 29.3 percent blitz rate and a 20.7 percent pressure rate. On rushing downs, according to defender-contact measurements that track how an offensive lineman maintains and creates space, Teller held space for his rusher at the second-best rate among all guards last season. Need more? Pro Football Focus gave him the best OL grade in run blocking (93.6) and overall play (92.9).

That’s a radical impact on the offense from a position that normally isn’t thought of as being so critical. It shows the value in Teller and also the importance of having an unexpected player step up somewhere on the roster.