NFL Draft 2020: Alabama's Jedrick Wills aims for 'freakish' combine numbers, out to prove he's the top tackle
Wills is looking to make a major statement during the combine
Jedrick Wills made two things clear as he continues to prepare for next week's NFL combine.
Wills, the former Alabama offensive lineman, is out to prove that he is the best offensive tackle prospect in this year's draft. To achieve that goal, Wills is aiming to put up "freakish" numbers at the combine while increasing his chances at being a top-10 pick in the draft. Wills, who started in 28 straight games at Alabama, has been training at Athlete Performance Enhancement Center (APEC) in Fort Worth in the weeks leading up to the combine.
"It's been a really good experience," Wills said of training at APEC, via Drew Davidson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "There's great coaches here at APEC that promise you results, and you start to see (results) really quickly. Just trying to be the best version of myself every day."
Wills, who is ranked by CBS Sports as the best offensive lineman prospect in this year's draft, allowed just one sack during his final two seasons at Alabama. A member of the Crimson Tide's 2017 national championship team, helped teammate Najee Harris rush for 1,224 yards and 13 touchdowns (while averaging 5.9 yards per carry) last season. He also helped quarterback Tua Tagovailoa emerge as one of the nation's top quarterback prospects. And despite losing Tagovailoa during the '19 season to a hip injury, Wills helped the Crimson Tide finish with an 11-2 record that included a 35-16 Citrus Bowl victory over Michigan.
"I have no regrets," Wills said about his college career. "Probably wish I would have played a little earlier, but I take that upon myself for not being ready enough when I first got there. But I played 28 straight games at right tackle, and I feel like I performed very well."
In his, CBS Sports analyst Ryan Wilson has the Giants selecting Wills with the fourth overall pick.
"Wills is not only one of the best players on Alabama's roster, he's arguably the top offensive lineman in this class," Wilson wrote. "The right tackle quietly had an outstanding 2019 campaign and he'll upgrade a Giants offensive line in desperate need of some consistency."
While he already has a first round projection, APEC founder and president Bobby Stroupe believes that Wills will only strengthen his case at the combine.
"He's been as advertised," Stroupe said. "Everything that you read and see about him and all the hype about how high his grade is and where he should be picked in the draft is legit. He's got the right type of mental approach. From a physical standpoint as a tackle, he moves better than any tight end that I've worked with from a standpoint of mechanics and flexibility and mobility. He can access angles that a lot of our skill guys can't.
"He's got incredible levels of power for his size at 315 pounds. I fully expect him to be a cornerstone player in the NFL for many years."
When looking at his tape, it's easy to see why Wills is regarded as arguably the top lineman in the draft. What immediately stands out is his strength, as Wills has learned how to use his 6-foot-5, 320-pound frame to his advantage. And while his run blocking is among his strengths, Wills' footwork, particularly in pass protection, is what really sets him a part. That being said, there are some questions about whether Wills can play left tackle at the next level after primarily lining up at right tackle during his time at Alabama.
Wills mentioned his versatility when asked to name his strengths heading into the combine.
"Committed, versatile, aggressive, smart player, knows the aspects of the game and can play any position you put me in," he said.
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