The Cleveland Browns’ offensive line lacks an elite offensive tackle.
The Cleveland Browns’ offensive is powered by its offensive line. More specifically, it’s an All-Pro guard combo of Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller. While Teller has some issues with pass blocking, it’d be hard to deny that Bitonio has any holes at all. More to the point, Bitonio is arguably the best guard in the NFL currently and on the verge of being an NFL Hall of Famer.
The combination of Bitonio and Wyatt has elevated the line to arguably the best unit the franchise has ever had over the last three to four years. They’ve powered the line to a Top 5 unit over the last four years. This is even more impressive when you realize that before Ethan Pocic arrived in Cleveland, he was anything but a starter. And yet, even more impressive, the duo has carried the offensive despite lacking any real superstar talent at tackle.
While you could argue Pocic is a quality player, the injuries to Jack Conklin have made him unreliable and Jedrick Wills is a borderline bust after three seasons. So it’s not surprising that Pro Football Focus has left the Browns tackle tandem off their Top 32 list.
PFF was right to leave the Cleveland Browns off the Top 32 tackle list
Wills and Conklin have a lot to prove this season. Wills is playing for his next contract, a contract that may not come after his play over the last two seasons. Conklin, who just got his deal extended, has a lot to prove as well. He signed a new four-year, $60 million contract in December before the end of the 2022 season, meaning that the team is locked into him for a little while.
Conklin’s last two years have been marred by injuries, sapping him of the elite-level performances that he showed off in the 2020 campaign. Performances that earned him a 2020 All-Pro selection.
Wills will likely never take the next step. He’s been lapped by fellow 2020 draft class member Triston Wirfs, who was taken after Wills. Wills’ ceiling is no longer the “Joe Thomas replacement” he was dubbed as, and now more of a “solid starter if you can get him on a cheap contract”.
Conklin, on the other hand, may be able to return to his prior level, if he can stay healthy, but even then, that’s a long shot. If you had asked us at the start of 2022 if both Wills and Conklin would still be on the team after 2023, we wouldn’t have said yes.
But once Conklin got that new deal, despite being less than impressive over the last two seasons, all bets are off with regard to Wills. He may get a new deal, he may not. What isn’t in doubt, however, is that the Browns lack the same consistency in the position that it had several years ago.
- Published on 07/09/2023 at 23:00 PM
- Last updated at 07/09/2023 at 23:00 PM