Jim Schwartz has a few new players to work with in the Cleveland Browns‘ defense.
Deshaun Watson has a bunch of new speedy receivers to throw to.
Even Bubba Ventrone received some new coverage guys for his punt and kicking teams.
And the 2023 NFL Draft is still a few days away.
#Browns Andrew Berry said that he will enter the draft being very flexible and open-minded with not having a pick until the third-round (#74).
— Fred Greetham (@FredGreetham9) April 21, 2023
Competition for roles on defense and special teams comes under these new coordinators.
So there are no favorites heading into the off-season meetings and practices.
All of that means a few players need to elevate their games.
Because roster bubbles only get bigger for players like these 2 as Berry signs more competitors.
MLB Jacob Phillips
Jacob Phillips was a third-round selection in Andrew Berry’s first draft class.
And if this was a year ago, we’d probably put Tony Fields’ name in the headline above.
After all, Fields sat on the sideline for all of his 2021 rookie season and started 2022 in the same spot.
But injuries- including Phillips’ season-ending torn pectoral- helped thrust Fields into the limelight.
— JP (@jacobphillips_1) January 9, 2022
And he responded with a couple of important, and highly visible plays at key moments.
Jim Schwartz mentioned wanting to meet and talk with Fields during his first press interactions.
Meanwhile, Berry re-signed the man whose injury made Phillips a starter last year, Anthony Walker.
Phillips’ fate might depend on if Cleveland rosters 1 or both of special teamers Jordan Kunaszyk and Matthew Adams.
IDL Jordan Elliott
Another third-round selection from 2020, Jordan Elliott is counting on Schwartz to reboot his NFL career.
Elliott hopes his coordinator’s new scheme makes better use of the skill set that got him drafted.
But football rosters eventually become a numbers game, and Elliott expects lots of competition.
Perrion Winfrey’s off-field issues might ease the logjam and 2021 pick Tommy Togiai hasn’t pulled ahead of Elliott.
Great play by #Browns DT Jordan Elliott here. Does a good job of getting a full extension with his arms to keep the OL off his body, while being able to “ride” down the LOS, and keeping his eyes in the backfield. This is exactly what CLE needs inside.
— Matt Wilson (@CoachWilson66) September 2, 2022
But free agent Dalvin Tomlinson has one starting spot locked up and Berry signed a pair of other tackles.
Maurice Hurst and Trystan Hill will vie for rotation spots among a handful of younger players.
Berry is expected to use at least one draft pick on his interior line, possibly his draft-opening third-rounder.
Throw in a few UDFAs and maybe another veteran free agent, and Elliott has his work cut out for him.