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When Cleveland Browns’ linebacker Mack Wilson was drafted in the fifth round of this year’s NFL Draft, general manager John Dorsey had seemingly struck gold. Wilson was viewed as a player that would be a second-day drafted player, with the potential to sneak into the first round.
However, he slid down the board and the Browns snatched him.
Through out the various team activities including rookie mini camps, organized team activities and now preseason, he’s done nothing but shine. Wilson has taken two interceptions for touchdowns so far in training camp. Then in his first preseason game, he intercepted Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins twice.
“Growing up, I played offense so I feel like my athletic ability helps me out,” said Wilson during his post game press conference. “I think I have a nose for the football. It’s hard to explain, but it is just something I have. Growing up, I played quarterback, running back and wide receiver.”
It was his first interception that has people talking. He intercepted Haskins on his first drive and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown.
“I caught the ball and saw a little traffic, but honestly, it felt like my interception from the Clemson game,” said Wilson. “I caught it and the quarterback was coming for me so I tried to stiff arm him and then I got tackled into the end zone.”
So that begs the question, what does the future hold for Mack Wilson?
The problem is that the Browns run a unique defense called, a 4-2-5; four lineman, two linebackers and five defensive backs. With linebackers Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert leading the charge, it means that Wilson will more than likely be on a rotation with fellow rookie linebacker Sione Takitaki.
However, Schobert’s contract is up at season’s end and Kirksey’s name has swirled with trade rumors in the past. If Wilson can build upon a stellar preseason debut, he may show that either one is expendable.
The one thing that needs to be seen is how well can he defend the run? One of his biggest knocks in the draft was his rushing defense.
While his game against Washington saw him make three tackles, all of which was solo, it didn’t build his stock in that regard. Should he do this, then he’ll be a force to be reckoned with in Cleveland.
Overall at this juncture, Wilson has a bright future in Cleveland. He has some work to do and something’s to prove but if week one of the preseason is an appetizer for what comes next, the city of Cleveland may not want to load up on bread.
For more on the Cleveland Browns, listen to the “Brownstown USA” podcast on The 3 Point Conversion podcast station.