Mack Wilson

Browns LB Mack Wilson Not Expected To Require Knee Surgery

The Browns received some good news Monday. They may well see Mack Wilson in action early this season.

Wilson is not expected to need surgery to repair his hyperextended knee, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. A four- to six-week timetable represents the current tentative expectation, which would make the start of October a realistic goal for the second-year linebacker.

This injury occurred in practice nearly two weeks ago. Browns doctors and Dr. James Andrews, whom Wilson sought for a second opinion, determined surgery should not be necessary, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes. Wilson’s recovery going smoothly would put him on track to be back early during the Browns’ regular-season slate. The Alabama product was an expected Week 1 starter for Cleveland, which has retooled at linebacker.

Cleveland cut Christian Kirksey and allowed 2019 tackles leader Joe Schobert to walk in free agency. The Browns have 2019 draftee Sione Takitaki, 2020 third-rounder Jacob Phillips and former Giants B.J. Goodson and Tae Davis in the fold on their defensive second level. Following Wilson’s injury, they also added former Seahawks, Raiders and 49ers starter Malcolm Smith.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Bengals, Wilson, Ravens

After leaving for Los Angeles to care for his coronavirus-stricken son, John Ross has returned to the Bengals. The fourth-year wide receiver, however, has landed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (video link). Ross’ son and the baby’s mother tested positive for COVID-19. Pending no positive virus tests, Ross can return to action as soon as Saturday.

Moving first to a Browns injury situation, here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Browns linebacker Mack Wilson is awaiting word on the severity of a knee injury he suffered in practice recently. The Cleveland starter is expected to miss several weeks because of a knee hyperextension, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). No tear is believed to have occurred, per Rapoport, but surgery appears to still be on the table. That would put Wilson’s season in jeopardy. With the Browns having disbanded their veteran linebacking corps over the past year and change, Wilson is now the team’s longest-tenured starter at that position. The 2019 fifth-round pick made 14 starts as a rookie.
  • Bengals safety Shawn Williams has also run into injury trouble. The eighth-year defender was carted off during a recent practice with a calf ailment. Williams has sought a second opinion, and NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero writes optimism exists the longtime starter can return in time for the Bengals’ Week 1 game (Twitter link). Williams has been a starter for the past four seasons, but the Bengals signing former Saints starter Vonn Bell could potentially cloud Williams’ role.
  • Nine months after tearing his ACL, PCL and MCL and dislocating his kneecap, Matt Skura returned to practice. The Ravens‘ first-string center passed his physical and was back in time for the team’s first padded practice, the team announced. Skura’s return, in a contract year, would be key for a Ravens team that saw potential Hall of Fame guard Marshal Yanda retire after 13 seasons.
  • It appears the Ravens will put their sixth-round pick to work quickly. Wide receiver James Proche is on track to be the team’s punt returner, but Baltimore special teams coordinator Chris Horton said (via The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec, on Twitter) the SMU product is a candidate to return kicks as well. The Ravens recently signed veteran return man Kenjon Barner, so Proche still being in contention for the kick-return role is interesting.

Alabama’s Mack Wilson To Enter Draft

Alabama linebacker Mack Wilson will enter the NFL Draft, according to Matt Zenitz of AL.com. Wilson joins fellow Crimson Tide standouts Jonah Williams, Quinnen Williams, Josh Jacobs, Irv Smith, Saivion Smith, and Deionte Thompson in this year’s class, leaving the program with lots of big shoes to fill. 

Wilson finished with 71 tackles, five tackles for a loss, one sack, and two interceptions in his junior season. He’s widely considered to be one of the best inside linebackers in this year’s class and has a real shot at becoming a first-round pick.

It has been an amazing three years at the University of Alabama, competing for three national championships and winning one,” Wilson wrote on social media.

ESPN’s Todd McShay lists Wilson as the No. 3 inside linebacker in the draft. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report has him in the same place – he sees him at the third best ILB in this year’s crop behind only LSU’s Devin White and Michigan’s Devin Bush and believes him to be the best run-stopping LB of the whole group.