NFL Draft: The Scouts' View of Alabama T Jedrick Wills

Mason Kern

The moves the Arizona Cardinals have made in the first weeks of the league year have had the goal of reducing the necessity of focusing on one position for their No. 8 pick in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Mock drafts in many places have the Cardinals eyeing a tackle with that early choice to slot opposite left tackle D.J. Humphries. If general manager Steve Keim goes in that direction, and there’s no guarantee he will, there are several candidates.

Our scout-in-residence Marc Lillibridge named Mekhi Becton as the Cardinals choice with his mock draft a few days ago.

A search of other mock drafts, of course, mentions other possibilities, like Alabama's Jedrick Wills and Iowa's Tristan Wirfs, also previously featured here.

In Bridge’s Breakdown above, see his analysis of Wills. What follows is the scouting report from nfl.com by Lance Zierlein.

JEDRICK WILLS    6-4    312    Alabama    40 time: 5.05

Arms: 34¼    Hands: 10    Vertical jump: 34.5

Broad jump: 113.0    20-yard shuttle: 4.84

NFL comparison: Jason Peters.

Wills was a five-star prospect and top 50 overall recruit in the 2017 class, expected to play early in his career with Alabama. The 2016 first-team all-state pick from Lexington, Ky., contributed in 11 games in his first season with the Tide, with one start when the team came out in a six-man line against Ole Miss. Wills was competing against veteran Matt Womack at right tackle in 2018 fall practice when Womack went down to injury. That allowed Wills to start all 15 games that sophomore campaign without looking over his shoulder. His game improved from sturdy to dominant in 2019, and he gained second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-SEC accolades while starting all 13 games on the year at his right tackle spot.

Overview

Wills falls below the height/length norm for tackles, but his quick, well-timed punches and varied approach prevent defenders from finding rush rhythms and using length against him. Agility and body control allow him to handle move-blocking duties successfully, but his leverage and elite transference of power from hips to his hands provide a big advantage as a body mover at the point of attack. His desire to control each snap occasionally leads to over-sets and lunging in an effort to stay ahead of opponents. Wills is one of the most impressive tackles in the draft; he has basketball-caliber foot quickness and the quick hands of a boxer, and all of it is wrapped in a stout, powerful package of bad intentions. His game is tailor-made for the NFL, and his range of success is good starter to All-Pro.

Strengths

  • Big, wide and extremely athletic
  • Plays with loose hips and fluid, twitchy feet
  • Quick out of the gates to cross-face defenders from back side
  • Moves like a tight end in space to adjust to moving targets
  • Good flexibility and leverage at point of attack
  • Can unlock hips and rips into initial contact with jarring force
  • Bulldozes down-blocks
  • Follows with his feet to sustain in space
  • Basketball footwork to mirror athletic rushers
  • Protects with a locked-in base width
  • Jabs rushers with either hand and has talent to reset and re-fire in an instant
  • Plays with unusual poise against counters
  • Power, balance and feet are outstanding in recovery
  • Plays with nasty disposition

Weaknesses

  • Shorter than average as a tackle
  • Plays too far forward at times as run-blocker
  • Will one-pop a block over sustaining at times
  • Can improve centering and controlling zone blocks
  • Inconsistent tempo on work-up blocks
  • Rare to see him latch in and close distance with hand grip
  • Average instincts and recognition against blitz
  • Losses in pass protection usually due to over-extending
  • Occasionally beaten by inside moves and spin counters
Comments (1)
No. 1-1
Footballfan55
Footballfan55

I think that a lot of those weaknesses can be addressed and worked on. I am a fan of this guy and think he'd be a good pick.


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