Marvin Wilson will be a name to watch at training camp
Marvin Wilson’s NFL Draft Day didn’t go as he expected.
But sometimes disappointment gives way to a tremendous opportunity.
And not being drafted gave Wilson a chance to choose where that opportunity might be best achieved.
Wilson presented several UDFA offers before accepting a guaranteed contract from the Cleveland browns.
He competes in an 8-for-4-5 place competition on the inside defensive lineman roster.
His guaranteed salary offers some security and maybe even a privileged avenue to be part of the team.
But that doesn’t guarantee him a leading role in Joe Woods’ defense.
Wilson knows he has to prove the Browns’ offer was worth the investment early on.
Normally, UDFAs struggle to break through a veteran group and draft pick competition.
But Jordan elliot is the only IDL to play down the Browns last year, creating full-scale competition.
How Wilson Became a UDFA Browns
Cleveland has signed several players who have been affected by the Covid season after strong junior years.
Wilson’s 2019 season ended prematurely due to an injury that likely convinced him not to make the draft as a junior.
But Wilson hasn’t helped things to come in the 2020 season with added weight and conflict with his coaches.
He managed to block a pair of kicks and a punt on special teams.
But overall he looked a bit slower and his defensive numbers suffered in the 6 games he played.
Despite another injury, Wilson was still widely screened as a midterm pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
When he was not drafted, Wilson’s phone immediately began ringing with offers from the UDFA.
Wilson did not share details of what other teams were willing to pay him.
He says he chose Cleveland because he felt they were giving him the best chance to make the team.
But the Browns’ assortment of free agents and draft picks will have something to say about that.
Evaluate Wilson’s Competition
These are the alleged starters of the training camp.
Browns general manager Andrew Berry signed another veteran, Sheldon Day, at the start of free agency.
But he added the most experienced Damion Square later in the process to push Jackson and Billings.
The only holder, Jordan Elliott, is also at the top of the standings.
He played some important snaps as a rookie, and while he didn’t stand out, he was far from a handicap.
Former Ohio State star Tommy Togiai has the indoor track on Wilson as a 2021 draft pick.
But several provisional assessors ranked Wilson ahead of Togiai, although others did not.
Malik McDowell could be the only player behind Wilson in the depths table as he attempts an injury comeback.
He entered training camp counting as much on effort and determination as his UDFA teammate.
How Wilson climbs the depth chart
Marvin Wilson wants to leave coaches in awe of a dominant performance at training camp.
There’s a reason he entered 2020 as a planned draft pick early in the round.
Finding the magic, along with the strength and speed, that led to an exceptional effort in 2019 secures him a place on the list.
But there are also other factors that work in its favor.
Cleveland has one of the youngest teams in the league by design.
Andrew Berry is building a lasting threat to the playoffs and prefers to lock up young talent rather than longtime veterans.
Wilson will do well to follow Day and Square, as well as Billings and Jackson.
Staying close and showing potential for growth might be enough to get ahead of the veterans on the depth chart.
At the very least, he must do enough to maintain his status as “potential”.
This will make it difficult for Wilson to move to the practice team where other teams can steal him.
Our training camp forecast
While every team wants to keep the best players after camp, other factors come into play.
Cleveland’s domestic line competition promises to be lively.
But it’s their defensive ends and linebackers who are changing the dynamics.
With outstanding edge rushers and solid second tier additions, Cleveland can bet on the youngsters on the inside.
Along with the fear of losing players from the practice squad, it can give Wilson another edge.
Andrew Berry would love to see Marvin Wilson line up alongside Tommy Togiai or Jordan Elliott for many years to come.
We expect Damion Square to step in if Billings or Jackson falters in training camp.
Two of those veterans will join Wilson, Togiai and Elliott in a 5-man IDL rotation.
If Cleveland chooses to use 4 inside linemen, Billings will need to insistently beat Wilson to hold onto his position.
And we won’t be surprised if Wilson beats every odds of winning a debut or two before the end of 2021.