Both talent and a solid gameplan will get a player and team far in professional football.
However, without leadership teams will quickly fall apart even with the best talent in the world.
Every season there is at least one team that looks fantastic on paper, but never lives up to the hype.
The problem is that organizations often times overanalyze statistics and forget how important it is having a leader on your team.
Luckily, the Cleveland Browns are different than other organizations and have more than one leader on each side of the ball.
Although, there are a couple of players that need to step up and be leaders and teachers if this team wants to succeed in 2021.
1. Anthony Walker
Heading into the offseason, the Browns knew that they needed to upgrade at the linebacker position.
The season prior they basically ignored the linebacker spot and it hurt them.
However, this time around they made major adjustments including signing four-year linebacker Anthony Walker.
The former Indianapolis Colts fifth-round pick has exceeded expectations since joining the league.
He already has two 100-plus tackle seasons under his belt and recorded 92 tackles with Indy last year.
That’s not all, Walker is also known for being a leader on defense, which is likely why the Browns went after him this offseason.
The #Browns went hard at rebuilding their defense this offseason. One of the key additions? LB Anthony Walker, a tackling monster in Indy. Coach Kevin Stefanski says of Walker so far: "To see him communicate, to see his leadership on display, is very impressive."
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) June 2, 2021
Shortly after signing with the Browns, Walker’s former teammates went to social media to talk about him.
Both Darius Leonard and Kenny Moore posted on Twitter about how important of a leader Walker is on defense.
Darius Leonard and Kenny Moore going to miss Anthony Walker. pic.twitter.com/kfzTx3iWnW
— Dan Labbe (@dan_labbe) March 19, 2021
The Browns obviously needed an upgrade at linebacker, but they wanted more than that.
This organization needed someone to help teach and guide these young linebackers in Cleveland.
Walker might not be a Pro Bowl caliber linebacker, but his knowledge and leadership is well worth the contract.
2. Baker Mayfield
There are certainly a handful of other candidates, but this seems to be the correct choice.
Last season, quarterback Baker Mayfield made a huge jump and finally looked like a franchise player.
Finally, the former No. 1 overall pick has come around and shown his true potential.
Although, it’s more than just Mayfield’s performance on the field.
He needs to be the leader of the organization and take control of the offense.
Ever since joining the Browns, Mayfield has showed signs of leadership and honesty with his teammates and the media.
Baker Mayfield showing some leadership and honesty with the Myles Garrett situation. Maybe people will stop hating him for a minute. #browns #PITvsCLE pic.twitter.com/km9lnY4LmM
— Browns Rally Possum (@BrownsRally) November 15, 2019
For some reason, Mayfield has been given a bad reputation of not being a leader by media figures such as Colin Cowherd.
Rarely is Cowherd right about something and here he is 100 percent wrong about Mayfield.
Mayfield wants to win, he wants to be the franchise quarterback, and he wants to be someone his teammates can trust to help guide them to a championship.
Baker Mayfield has taken the time to welcome every new Brown to the team.
Building a culture of camaraderie from day 1. pic.twitter.com/2AyqKFh70z
— Nick Karns (@karnsies817) May 2, 2021
The 26-year-old showed exactly what he is capable of doing on the field last season.
It’s time for him to put it all together in 2021 and help bring a Super Bowl championship to Cleveland.
There have been some growing pains with Mayfield, but he has become the best quarterback for this team over the last decade or so.
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