Mack Wilson has fallen out of favor with the Cleveland Browns and could find himself on a new squad with the trade deadline approaching.
Wilson has started 23 games over three seasons with the Browns but played a season-low five snaps on defense last week. He’s fallen behind on the depth chart with the return of veteran starter Anthony Walker and the emergence of rookie second-round pick Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported on Tuesday that teams are monitoring the situation with Wilson in Cleveland and he could be on the move if a linebacker-needy team comes calling with the right deal.
Wilson took over a starting role for the majority of his rookie season. He notched 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.
While his play has been lacking of late, there is a reason teams would want in on Wilson. He is just 23, comes with some starting experience and could be a fit in a different system.
Browns DT Andrew Billings Also Mentioned as Trade Target
Another name mentioned by Fowler as possible trade bait was defensive tackle Andrew Billings, who — like Wilson — has had a smaller than expected role on defense.
Billings played just 22 snaps in the first four weeks, although he saw a larger role against the Chargers last week, logging 21 snaps.
Billings, who is listed at 6-foot-1, 328 pounds, sat out all of last season due to COVID-19 concerns. Billings collected 35 tackles and one sack as a starter with the Bengals in 2019. The 26-year-old had notched a below-average grade of 49.5 via and has collected just one sack.
Much like at linebacker, Billings has seen a reduced role due to the emergence of Malik McDowell — a former first-round pick who hadn’t played an NFL snap before this season. Veteran Malik Jackson has seen the majority of reps inside at the other tackle spot.
“When you have the ability to rush off of the edge like we do, you really want to have that inside push so there are no step-up lanes for the quarterback,” Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods said on October 7 when asked about the impact of the two Maliks inside. “It also helps you in terms of running pass rush games with just their ability to set picks and run different things. They have really helped just with their presence inside and what they are able to do.”
Browns Dealing With Injuries
While a trade with the right value could prove enticing for the Browns, depth is needed right now with injuries popping up all over the roster.
Some of the more notable injured include starting cornerbacks Denzel Ward, starting left tackle Jedrick Wills and Owusu-Koramoah, who had to go to the hospital for a throat contusion following the loss to the Chargers last Sunday.
The Browns have yet to give an update on the bevy of injured players but are hoping to be close to full strength when the undefeated Cardinals come to town this week.