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Jedrick Wills 'a sponge of information' in move to Browns LT

When the time came for the Browns to use their 10th-overall selection on a prospect last month, they did so about as quickly as a virtual draft would allow.

As all teams are when they select a first-round talent, the Browns were ecstatic after making their pick. One question lingered, though: Can Jedrick Wills, a right tackle in college, make the switch to the left side? And can he do so amid a pandemic that is forcing rookies to learn exclusively from a distance?

So far, so good, according to Browns offensive line coach Bill Callahan.

"We have given him a number of drills to do, and we have just really started out with real basic things," Callahan told the team's official website. "Just really looking at stance and putting him in the left-handed stance, which he has been there before. What we have done is we have gathered a lot of video, he sends the video back and I can coach him through all of the nuances and techniques of what we want to get him into.

"Additionally, I have also sent him and we will sit down and watch tackles that I have had in my career that have done the same types of things. It has been really positive. He is really a sponge of information. He has absorbed all the content that you can give him and he wants more. I am really excited about him. I am eager to at some point get on the field with him."

Cleveland was in the market for a left tackle after signing the best right tackle on the market, Jack Conklin, earlier in the offseason. Wills, the Browns deemed, was the best tackle position, regardless of side of the offensive line.

In fact, he's essentially been playing left tackle on the right side for most of his time at Alabama. Wills blocked for a left-handed quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, the No. 5 pick of the Dolphins in the same draft. That meant his right tackle duties were just as important as left tackle responsibilities for a right-handed quarterback in the NFL. The switch isn't about ability, but direction, muscle memory and flipping a mental switch.

Callahan mentioned starting with the stance, a lineman's foundation and especially a tackle's basis for everything he's going to do. For Wills, it'll be a reversal of what he'd grown accustomed to doing at Alabama. But his skills aren't restricted to a side of the line and should translate seamlessly.

"With Jedrick, it was a little bit different in that you can feel him on film," Callahan said. "He came alive on tape, and you got excited about what he was doing throughout the course of the game.

"A lot of times, people talk about make-up and they talk about characters and all these other things, which are great -- which he does have -- but he has these intangibles that show up in tangible ways on film. You watch him finish. You watch the detail, the technique. You watch his consistent effort and his stamina throughout the course of the game from start to finish. I think that was the appeal for me."

The qualities Callahan listed should make a line coach salivate. Provided he can pick up the team's offense in time, Wills should be a day one starter in Cleveland.

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