The Cleveland Browns surprised many folks by routing the Cincinnati Bengals 24-3 in their Week 1 contest to open the 2023 season, but along the way, they suffered a brutal loss in key offensive lineman Jack Conklin, who will miss the rest of the year with a torn ACL and MCL. That has led head coach Kevin Stefanski to quickly name a replacement for Conklin.
Conklin has held down the fort at right tackle for Cleveland since 2020, and he has generally been one of the top offensive tackles in the game since entering the league back in 2016. Replacing the two-time First-Team All-Pro member is going to be easier said than done, and Kevin Stefanski made it official by picking rookie tackle Dawand Jones as the guy to step in at right tackle with Conklin out for the season.
Via Andrew Siciliano:
“Stefanski says rookie 4th-rounder Dawand Jones will start at RT.”
Jones filled in for Conklin immediately after he was forced out of this game for the Browns, so he was the obvious choice for Stefanski with the team's worst fears regarding Conklin's injury being confirmed. The good news is Jones looked solid during his initial stint on the field, and while he fell to the Browns in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, he has a lot of upside that could be tapped into immediately here.
Losing Conklin is obviously a massive blow, but Jones has the potential to develop into a star for the Browns. They likely weren't hoping to have to throw him to the wolves so soon, but Jones has a great opportunity to prove what he's capable of for Cleveland. If he can play at a high level, the Browns could continue to win games just like they did to open their season against the Bengals.