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Jedrick Wills Jr. expects to be 'a lot better' in second year at LT

Wills has passed all the tests necessary at learning the left tackle position in 2020. Now, he’s looking to fulfill his potential and become one of the top tackles in the NFL

The best way Jedrick Wills Jr. can describe the transition he made from right tackle to left tackle last season is waking up one day with opposite handedness.

"You wake up one day left-handed when you've been right-handed your entire life," Wills said Thursday before the Browns' first joint practice against the New York Giants. "That was pretty much how it felt whenever I needed to make that transition. It's just like waking up with completely different footwork, aspects, my hands and even something as simple as the left tilt of my head."

The hard work of the transition, one the Browns needed him to do after they drafted him 10th overall in 2020, is mostly out of the way. He proved last season he can handle the position well, and the Browns believe he's ready to take a big step in 2021 toward the All-Pro potential many scouts saw in him as an Alabama draft prospect.

"I really do think he's come a long way," head coach Kevin Stefanski said. "Personally and professionally, I just think he has been very much about his business. I have noticed. I know his teammates have noticed, as well."

Check out photos from the first day of joint practices with the Giants at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus

Bill Callahan, the Browns' offensive line coach, has certainly noticed. He's a 40-year coaching veteran who has helped transition several players from one offensive line position to another, and he's been hands-on with Wills as soon as the two arrived for in-person practices for the first time in 2020 training camp. 

Callahan is a strict, honest coach who can always identify room for improvement in his players. That's why the Browns embrace him just as much as any other coach, and Callahan's honesty showed up in a good way when he was asked about Wills on Aug. 11.

"Jedrick's made a lot of improvement in his game," he said. "I don't think it's close relative to where he was a year ago. He's taken advantage of the learning processes he went through a year ago, and he's trying to accelerate his growth in a lot of different areas."

One way that growth has been accelerated in training camp is from Myles Garrett, his camp competition. Garrett, a 2020 Pro Bowler and All-Pro selection, has won a decent chunk of battles against Wills, but the wide array of moves and elite bend ability of Garrett will certainly be beneficial in preparing Wills for his competition in the regular season.

Wills called Garrett the best pass rusher he's seen so far in the NFL.

"It's a whole new game going against Myles," he said. "You gain a lot (from him). You never see anyone else like him throughout the league. You just see so many different combinations of moves. Some guys, you can stop them on the very first move, and Myles is giving you three or four."

A leap from Wills would be massive for the Browns' offensive line, which retained all five of its starters from last season when it finished the year as one of the top O-Line units in the league.

Wills is confident a bigger year is ahead. The hard work of learning how to be left-handed is over, and now Wills no longer has to focus on being the best tackles in Cleveland.

He wants to be one of the best left tackles in the league.

"I feel like everything that I was expecting to do, I lived up to," he said. "Now with having this opportunity having it there at my hands, I expect to be a lot better."