Tom Brady is going to need protection and the current offensive line situation here in Tampa Bay is not going to get it done. The Buccaneers need to upgrade the tackle spot at all costs and at the very least need to add more depth. With a top 15 selection in their back pocket, it would be wise to spend a premium pick on an offensive tackle to keep Brady upright.
This is where Alabama offensive tackle Jedrick Wills comes into play. Widely regarded as a top round selection, Wills potential availability when the Buccaneers pick comes up makes him a very intriguing target. Add in the fact that Wills has spent his career at right tackle, a spot currently up for grabs in Tampa, makes this a clear match.
Jedrick Wills’ Collegiate Career
Wills finished his high school career as a top tier prospect with a five star rating that put him in the top 50 overall in the 2017 recruiting class. Wills was an All-State first team selection in 2016 out of Kentucky.
Wills stepped onto campus as a true freshman and appeared in 11 games with a lone start thanks to Alabama coming out in a six-man set up front. Wills garnered enough experience to enter camp his sophomore season with a legitimate chance to win a spot on the line when tragedy struck his teammate, Matt Womack, during fall practice.
Wills took advantage of his teammates injury and went on to start all 15 games as a sophomore and only continued to rise and get better.
2019 started and Wills turned into a force to be reckoned with for Alabama. The junior was a clear step above his competition and due to that dominance, decided to leave early for the draft. Wills enters the draft having earned second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-SEC accolades while starting all 13 games as the Crimson Tides right tackle.
The first thing you notice when watching Wills is his physicality and pure strength in his game. When the quarterback hands the ball off to the running back, one thing can be certain and that’s Wills is going to get into his man and move some bodies. Wills has very good snap from his hips into contact and utilizes his stature very well.
On the shorter end of things for a tackle, Wills is a tad lower and does a good job using leverage and getting under his opponent. As a pass blocker, Wills anchors well and does a solid job with his hand positioning. Wills does a great job absorbing contact from the bull rush and has shown some good bend against speed off the edge.
Wills is definitely an old school, knock you till the whistle blows and then some type of guy. Wills plays thru the whistle and finishes with good power.
As a pass protector, Wills mirrors well and shows above average footwork.
Wills doesn’t have the elite length and height that some look for in tackles. Due to his height of 6’4”, some internet scouts and NFL media figures feel he’s exclusively a right tackle.
Wills has a habit of overextending himself forward when run-blocking, causing some sloppiness. Wills also has a tendency to hit and move on in the run game, causing run lane issues instead of latching on and moving his man clear out of the way.
Wills was beaten at times inside and appeared to struggle identifying following up moves and stunts. Wills will need to improve his recognition skills at the next level to continue dominating the way he has.
Why The Buccaneers Need Jedrick Wills
The simple answer is that the team has no clear cut starter at right tackle. By simply connecting the dots, Wills is about as good as it gets given what’s available in free agency and who may be available in the draft. Wills would undoubtedly step right into One Buc and become the teams top option at right tackle and for good reason. He’s that good of a prospect.
Wills would significantly upgrade the offensive line that already has a very good left guard in Ali Marpet and a good center in Ryan Jensen. While he’s often ridiculed and pointed out for his mishaps, Donovan Smith is no slouch either at left tackle and adding Wills to that group with another young growing guard in Alex Cappa may just get this group really meshing together.
Tom Brady was brought in to win right now. In order for that to happen, he needs to be protected and their may not be a better plug and play option for Tampa Bay than Jedrick Wills.
Should It Happen?
Unequivocally yes. If Jedrick Wills is available, Tampa Bay should rush that pick in and feel like they got away with robbery. Wills is a top 10 talent in this draft but thanks to quarterbacks and teams in full on need of them, players like Wills have a chance to slide just enough for Tampa Bay to swoop on in.
Tampa has struggled to produce an offensive line that both pass protects and opens up running lanes. Ronald Jones and company would undoubtedly look better behind a better offensive line and Tom Brady will perform much better getting passes off well protected than he would running for his life.
But now that you’ve heard my thoughts on this prospect, it’s your turn, Bucs Nation. What do you think of Jedrick Wills potentially suiting up for Tampa Bay in 2020 and beyond? Be sure to vote in the poll and discuss your thoughts in the comments section down below.
How Do You Feel About Jedrick Wills For the Buccaneers In The 2020 NFL Draft?
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Draft Him No Matter What
Trade Back Candidate
I Wouldn’t Mind It
There Are Better Options