UPDATE @ 10:05 p.m.: The Browns have chosen Jedrick Wills Jr., an offensive tackle from the University of Alabama, with the 10th pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
“It’s a good organization and they’re up and coming,’’ Wills told cleveland.com in a phone interview last week.
The Browns are hoping their pick is a step toward helping them recover from a disappointing season.
The 2019 season started with high expectations for the Browns, including some odds makers including them among favorites to contend for a Super Bowl berth. Instead, the Browns finished 6-10.
The offseason was another turbulent one in Cleveland, when GM John Dorsey and head coach Freddie Kitchens were ousted. They were replaced by new coach Kevin Stefanski and first-time general manager Andrew Berry.
Last week, the Browns chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta was forced to shoot down rumors that they were looking to trade Odell Beckham Jr. “It’s frustrating a little bit," he said. ”I think it’s pretty clear what we’re trying to build at this point. We got an awful lot in free agency. We’re excited about what we have a chance to do in the draft. We’re really building around a corps of players that we think we have a chance to have a championship-caliber core and the idea we would take away from that core at this moment just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and really not something we are exploring at all."
This offseason, the Browns have signed free agents Jack Conklin, an offensive tackle; tight end Austin Hooper; quarterback Case Keenum; linebacker B. J. Goodson; safety Karl Joseph; defensive tackle Andrew Billings; corner Kevin Johnson; and defensive end Adrian Clayborn.
Going into the draft, experts suggested the biggest need was an offensive lineman to help protect Baker Mayfield, who was sacked 40 times in 2019. He threw 21 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.