With the trade deadline approaching, Cleveland Browns linebacker Mack Wilson is a name that teams around the league will be inquiring about.
Wilson was recently pitched as a trade chip to allow the Browns to build up their offensive line depth in an article by Bill Barnwell of ESPN. The deal would ship Wilson to Dallas for offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe.
Here’s why Barnwell thinks the move makes sense for both sides:
At 35, Nsekhe certainly qualifies as a veteran. Crucially, he has experience playing under Browns offensive line wizard Bill Callahan during their shared time in Washington. The Cowboys signed Nsekhe after their line went to pieces last season, but he hadn’t played an offensive snap all season before Sunday’s win over the Patriots. If Tyron Smith’s neck injury isn’t serious, Nsekhe could be expendable.
Dallas would get back linebacker depth in Wilson, whose role in the defense has declined throughout the season. The 2019 fifth-rounder would be an indirect replacement for Jaylon Smith, who was released earlier this month
After playing just 12 snaps on defense the last two weeks, Wilson got some extended run against the Broncos on Thursday night. He notched four tackles against Denver with standout rookie Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah on injured reserve.
While the offensive line depth has been hurting the last few weeks, Jedrick Wills returned on Thursday against the Broncos to protect Case Keenum’s blindside.
Wilson Was Once Promising Prospect for Browns
Teams have been making calls about Wilson’s availability, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Depending on the severity of the injury to Owusu-Koramoah, Wilson could be firmly off the market, with the Browns erring on the side of depth over acquiring future assets.
Initially, Wilson looked like a steal when the Browns selected him in the fifth round of the draft. He took over a starting role for the majority of his rookie season, notching 77 tackles, one interception, a forced fumble, four tackles for loss and defended seven passes.
However, his second season started out rocky, with a hyperextended knee during training camp. Wilson played in 13 games with eight starts, recording 39 tackles. However, he was a healthy scratch on occasion. It was reported by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer in the preseason that the Browns were taking calls on Wilson.
Browns Defense Does Enough Against Broncos
After struggling the last two weeks, the defense stepped up against Denver during a 17-14 victory. The Broncos managed just 223 yards of offense — just 41 on the ground. The Browns shut down Denver in the first half, but opened the door in the second.
“We do not want to be a first half team,” Browns linebacker Anthony Walker said. “We want to play a complete game. We had some good moments in the first half, but we want to finish games better.”
Walker was proud of how the team responded to playing with multiple key pieces out.
It is the NFL, and guys are going to get banged up. How are you going to respond? I am proud of these guys. Nobody flinched in our locker room and everybody stepped up – next man up. Guys made some huge plays out there. We are a bunch of competitive tough guys in the locker room, and I am proud to be a part of this team.”
The Browns have some time off before facing the Steelers next week in a crucial AFC North matchup.