The Browns won’t have the advantage of coaching Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson in the Senior Bowl next week.
Watson, who recently led the Tigers to the national championship with playoff victories over Ohio State and Alabama, declined an invitation to the all-star game, Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage confirmed Wednesday. Watson is a junior but was eligible because he graduated and declared for the NFL Draft.
Browns coach Hue Jackson and his reconstructed staff will coach the South team, of which Watson would’ve been a member. The Browns have the No. 1 pick in the draft and need a quarterback, so having Watson in meetings and on the practice field would’ve given them an inside look at one of the draft’s top prospects.
Watson, North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer are considered the best quarterbacks available.
Watson will focus on preparing for the scouting combine that begins March 1 in Indianapolis.
Star Alabama defensive players Jonathan Allen and Reuben Foster will also skip the Senior Bowl. The Browns could consider Allen with the top pick and Foster at No. 12.
The top players on the South, according to CBS draft analyst Dane Brugler, are Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, Western Kentucky offensive lineman Forrest Lamp and Mississippi tight end/receiver Evan Engram.
Jackson hired veteran assistant Bob Wylie to coach the offensive line, a league source confirmed to The Chronicle-Telegram. The C-T reported last week Wylie was likely to get the job.
Wylie, 65, was line coach for Jackson in his previous one-year stint as head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2011. The Raiders ranked tied for fourth in the league by allowing only 25 sacks – improving from tied for 26th with 44 sacks in 2010 -- and were seventh rushing (131.9 yards per game).
Wylie replaces Hal Hunter, who was fired by Jackson after one season with the Browns. The line was plagued by injuries -- guards Joel Bitonio and John Greco were placed on injured reserve with Lisfranc injuries -- and allowed a league-high 66 sacks, 17 more than the next team.
The Browns didn’t make the Wylie hire official, as they are waiting to announce the new assistants together. That could come Thursday prior to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ introductory news conference at noon.
- North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky happy with his pro day performance; Browns exec Sashi Brown and coach Hue Jackson don't attend
- NFL Draft: For years Mitchell Trubisky's goal has been to end Browns' QB curse, and he just might get that chance
- Browns head of football operations Sashi Brown won't travel to Senior Bowl following procedure on back
- NFL Draft: Deshaun Watson says he's all-in for scouting combine, plans to do everything
- Commentary: With top pick ... Browns should do smart thing and just take the best QB
- College Football: Clemson beats Alabama to win first title since 1981
- Browns: Trubisky declares for NFL Draft: Browns have top pick
- College football: Alabama can solidify its dynasty with win over Clemson
- College Football Playoff: Clemson clobbers Ohio State, hands Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer his first shutout
- Browns Notes: Blake Williams, defensive coordinator Gregg's son, hired to coach linebackers
- Browns hire Clyde Simmons to coach defensive line, fire Robert Nunn
- Browns: New coordinator Williams hires Walker as defensive backs coach
- Williams gets two ringing endoresements
- Browns continue housecleaning; five more assistant coaches gone
- Offensive assistant Pep Hamilton leaves Browns for job with Michigan
- (UPDATED) Browns fire defensive coordinator Ray Horton, hire Gregg Williams
- Browns Hue Jackson defends decision to disrupt continuity with defensive coordinator change, says Gregg Williams is right guy to fulfill his vision