Jedrick Wills Jr. hopes he never has to start a season the way he started last year again.
Wills, the 2020 10th-overall pick was dealt a tough break in Week 1 last season when he suffered an ankle injury against the Chiefs and attempted to play through it the next three weeks before he was inactive for Weeks 5 and 6 for time to heal. He said he injury only affected him in that stretch, but he admitted that last season was still a stressful year, one that was far from his full potential.
"Last year was a struggle," he said Tuesday. "It was not a secret – everybody knew that. Playing with an injury is one of the hardest things you could do as a player. I'm excited for this year."
Wills feels much better both physically and emotionally as he enters an important third NFL season as the Browns' starting left tackle. He's still 23 years old and has spent the last two years growing into a position he didn't initially play in college at Alabama, where he was a right tackle. The Browns, however, believed Wills had all the tools necessary to transition to the left side.
With two seasons now under his belt, Wills knows he'll be expected to take a big step in 2022 and is confident he'll meet the challenge.
"It could be a turnaround year for me," he said.
Legendary former Browns left tackle Joe Thomas has been at a handful of training camp practices so far and has worked with Wills after practice. The duo hadn't previously been able to meet together at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus due to the pandemic restrictions from the last two seasons, but they've certainly made up for the lost time with multiple post-practice sessions in training camp.
"It's been really good," Wills said. "He's been coming out and helping us. He's been here during camp almost every day. Him and (offensive line) Coach (Bill) Callahan have kind of built in a little session where he can come in, show us a couple of things from his day and work on some technique with us. It has been very beneficial."
Here's what else you might've missed from Day 11 in Berea.
Check out photos of players and coaches working throughout camp