The 2020 campaign was a success for the Cleveland Browns, but they didn’t achieve their ultimate goal.
Luckily, the offensive unit seems to have finally clicked and quarterback Baker Mayfield has found his groove.
The secondary was a problem for the Browns throughout most of the 2020 season.
To be fair, Cleveland lost some key players on defense early in the year, but could never put it together.
General manager Andrew Berry did a fantastic job this offseason and put together a much improved defensive unit heading into next season.
Although, there are still a few question marks for the Browns defense as we approach the 2021 campaign.
3. No Ogunjobi, No Richardson, No Problem?
The Browns’ defensive line has drastically changed over the course of the offseason.
Both starting defensive tackles from last season are no longer on the Browns roster heading into next season.
Cleveland decided to not re-sign Larry Ogunjobi and released veteran Sheldon Richardson in order to save cap space.
That being said, players such as Andrew Billings, Jordan Elliott, and veteran Malik Jackson will be asked to play bigger roles on the Browns defense.
They also brought in a handful of reinforcements including Ohio State product Tommy Togiai in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Welcome to Cleveland, Tommy Togiai!#BrownsDraft pic.twitter.com/2U2c4QYJpI
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) May 1, 2021
Cleveland certainly has plenty of options at defensive tackle, but it remains to be seen if these players are trustworthy options.
Billings decided to opt-out last season, while Elliott played a limited role behind Ogunjobi and Richardson.
The rest of the Browns DT options are either new to the system or saw very little action with the organization.
This position could very well become an area of concern quickly for the Browns in 2021.
2. Will Clowney Stay Healthy?
The Browns finally agreed to terms on a contract with three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
It feels like the two sides had been trying to strike a deal for roughly two years.
Finally, the Browns signed Clowney to a one-year deal with a heavily incentive based salary.
Which means, Clowney is going to need to play well in order to get paid a significant portion of his salary.
That was a smart decision by Cleveland since Clowney hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2017.
It has been a rocky last few seasons for the former No. 1 overall pick, but Clowney has shown flashes when he’s actually on the field.
The Browns desperately need a reliable pass rusher to play alongside Myles Garrett.
They need someone to help take the pressure off Garrett, so hopefully Clowney will be able to do that.
Clowney has recorded 50 tackles, three sacks, and five fumbles forced combined over the last two seasons.
It remains to be seen what he’ll be able to bring to the table in Cleveland.
1. How Much Impact Will Greedy Williams And Grant Delpit Make?
As mentioned earlier, the Browns defense took a significant hit when they lost Greedy Williams and Grant Delpit during training camp last season.
Both players suffered significant injuries and were not able to take the field for Cleveland at all in 2020.
Luckily, it sounds like both of them will be back and ready to play for the upcoming season.
#Browns Grant Delpit (Achilles) says he’ll be ready for training camp pic.twitter.com/6lJRXx6nQo
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) May 26, 2021
The Browns added insurance at defensive back with Troy Hill and Greg Newsome II.
However, they still will be able to find a place for Williams to play, assuming he’s healthy.
Cleveland expects Delpit to slide into the starting safety spot and play alongside John Johnson II.
Both players are former second round picks out of LSU with high ceilings.
The Browns defense is counting on both Williams and Delpit coming back strong in 2021.
Honestly, the Browns could be in trouble if these two aren’t able to contribute at a significant level next season.
Hopefully, both players will be able to take big steps forward in Cleveland.
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