Turns out, the kids can play.
In the Cleveland Browns preseason debut against the Washington Redskins, rookie Mack Wilson had a pair of interceptions and Greedy Williams added another.
Wilson was a fifth-round pick out of Alabama, where he had 113 tackles, seven sacks and six interceptions for the Crimson Tide over his three seasons at Alabama. Wilson has a huge level of athleticism that helps him excel in coverage, which was evident on the ridiculous pick-six.
The Browns traded up to pick corner Greedy Williams in the second round of this year’s draft with their top pick. It appears to be a move that is going to pay huge dividends.
Mack Wilson is an Interception Machine for Browns
The interception of Redskins rookie QB DwayneHaskins was not the first time Wilson had shown off his ball-hawking skills.
He’s been doing it at training camp fairly regularly, notching INTs in three straight practices last week.
“That’s great,” Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens said on the broadcast before heading into the locker room at half. “Mack has been making some plays the last couple of days and it’s continued tonight.”
He added another interception in the fourth quarter.
Here’s some of what NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein had to say about Wilson when he was coming out in the draft.
“He is today’s version of an NFL linebacker with adequate size, plus strength and toughness, speed pursue and an ability to handle coverage duties on any down. Wilson is like a classically trained musician who hits his notes on time, but the question is whether or not he can play as a free-form, improvisational talent when the opportunity arises. Either way, he’s a solid, three-down starter in any defensive scheme.”
When asked about the rookie LB, Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Steve Wilks had some good things to say about Wilson.
“I love his athleticism,” Wilks said. “When you look at him out in space, he plays well, good change of direction. When you look at the matchups throughout this league, a lot of times you do not really have safeties that can cover these big tight ends so you need a linebacker that can run. That is the mode that we have right now. He fits that mode right there being able to cover a tight end as well.”
Greedy Williams Eyes Starting Spot With Browns
Williams has his eyes on a starting job opposite of fellow young-gun corner Denzel Ward, who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie a year ago. He’s helped his cause with a strong training camp and then an interception toward the end of the half against the Redskins.
He started the first preseason game, with Ward dealing with an injury.
One of the major knocks on Williams in the draft was his unwillingness to make contact and tackle. However, Browns general manager John Dorsey did not sound one bit concerned about the issue following the draft.
“I have no problem with his tackling,” Dorsey said. “He’ll get you down. Corners are paid to cover.”
On the first unofficial depth chart released, Williams is still behind veteran Terrance Mitchell. The preseason will be big for Williams to prove that he can cover, tackle and hang at the NFL level.