2020 NFL Draft

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Jedrick Wills Jr. the latest 'unsung hero' added to help bring best out of Browns' playmakers

The Browns entered their first offseason with Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski at the helm boasting a number of core players at the skill positions on offense.

In Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, the Browns have two Pro Bowl wide receivers in the midst of their respective primes. In Nick Chubb, Cleveland has a third-year, Pro Bowl running back coming off one of the best seasons in team history. And in Baker Mayfield, the Browns have a young quarterback they believe can continuously improve and grow into his role as a leader of the franchise.

There was just work to be done at a handful of other positions, particularly those whose value and accomplishments aren't fully validated by statistics. Methodically, starting with the acquisition of FB Andy Janovich and continuing Thursday with the selection of LT Jedrick Wills Jr., the Browns have checked off a number of items from their offensive to-do list. And with two more days remaining in the 2020 NFL Draft, there could be even more additions to a recalibrated offense that fits the mold for how Stefanski wants to operate in 2020 and beyond.

"For us, having a young quarterback and being an organization that we want to make sure we can be quarterback-centric and make sure that position has a lot of success, the offensive line is always going to be a priority," Berry said in the days leading up to the draft. "That is not just this year but any given year because if we can't protect the quarterback and we can't create holes in the run game, then it is going to be a really tough challenge for our skill players to produce and play at a high level. It really does start there. 

"I know those guys end up being a bit of unsung heroes, but that is something that has been a focus of ours and will continue to be a focus of ours in each successive offseason."

With the signing of All-Pro RT Jack Conklin and Thursday's selection of Wills, the Browns now have two new tackles, addressing a major area of weakness and strengthening an offensive line that is strongest in the middle with Pro Bowl LG Joel Bitonio and veteran C JC Tretter. Austin Hooper, who was also signed at the start of the new league year, gives Cleveland one of the best pass-catching TEs in the league who can also provide a physical presence in the run game. That's where Janovich is expected to be the biggest help, too, giving the Browns an experienced player at a position it didn't even have on the roster last season.

Consider it four big, new ingredients for what Stefanski believes can be a recipe for success on offense.

"We added Jack in free agency and added Jedrick tonight," Stefanski said. "We will figure it out, I guess is the best way of putting it. Whether Jack is the right and Jedrick is the left, we will figure that out. I like the idea that we added two really smart, tough, versatile football players that will make us better. I am confident that the coaches will put them in position to succeed."

Integrating all of these pieces together is the next step. Whenever that happens in a conventional sense is anyone's guess, as the Browns and every other team across the league are relegated to virtual, voluntary meetings while the country continues to battle through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It will be a new playbook for every member, new and old, of this reshaped Browns offense. But in a little more than a month, it's become clear Cleveland has added the kind of pieces it believes will fit well together when the final product hits the field in 2020.

"When we do get him, whenever that is, there will still be work to done and we know we are getting a young player so it is going to be a process," Stefanski said. "It is going to be a process of development, and I trust that we have the guys to get it done."

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