Many football fans will tell you that defense wins championships.
With offenses as fast and talented as they are today, defenses must match that.
The Cleveland Browns have plenty of ability on that side of the football.
Myles Garrett leads the pass rush as one of the most prolific edge athletes in the league.
Denzel Ward continues to be one of the most exciting cornerbacks in the game too.
However, there are still defensive holes on the roster.
One way to fill them is through the NFL Draft which is right around the corner.
Andrew Berry and friends are without their first-round draft pick following the Deshaun Watson trade.
Who are some of the prospects that could help them out defensively?
1. Boye Mafe, DE, Minnesota
Finding long-term help opposite of Myles Garrett has been difficult.
Olivier Vernon never met expectations despite some decent scattered performances.
Jadeveon Clowney did a bounce-back season in 2021 but could be on another roster this season.
Acquiring edge Chase Winovich from New England helped add depth, however, he’s on his final contract year.
Plus, he struggles staying on the field against good rushing teams.
Enter Boye Mafe from Minnesota. Mafe logged 34 total tackles, 10 of those for loss, on top of seven sacks in 2021.
That earned him third team all-Big Ten honors.
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 6, 2022
Getting a quality edge rusher at the 44th pick would be a win for the front office.
With Winovich on the roster, Joe Woods could be more selective with when and where Mafe sees the field.
He’s projected to go in the second-round but has a first-round level ceiling in the eyes of many.
Winovich hasn’t proven to be consistent, so look for Cleveland to try and nab another quality edge that can hit the field this season.
2. Logan Hall, DT, Houston
Cleveland will be looking for interior defensive line help as well as exterior.
One option for the Browns brought up in multiple mock drafts is defensive tackle Logan Hall out of Houston.
The Browns are extremely thin on the inside currently.
Taking Hall in the draft would give them a versatile piece to start building the inside around.
If Houston DE/DT Logan Hall is available at #44 he should be the #Browns selection.
6’6”, 275 lbs
83.4 Grade (@PFF)
— Tyler Johnson (@T_johnson_TJ) April 2, 2022
In his final season at Houston, Hall tallied 47 total tackles, 13 of those for loss, and six sacks.
That stellar 2021 season shot him right up the draft boards.
Hall is undersized for the position though.
At 6’6, 260-pounds, he’s well under the league positional average weight of 308-pounds.
It’s a league that favors passing though.
So even while undersized, Hall is built for the ever-evolving defensive tackle spot.
Woods’ defense loves getting after the quarterback, finishing ninth in the league in sacks last year. Hall would fit in well with that scheme.
3. Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia
Another heavier option for the Browns at defensive tackle is Devonte Wyatt out of Georgia.
“He flashes some big-time ability as a pass rusher, getting off the ball with nice burst and leverage”, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network wrote. “Against the run, he keeps a low pad level and controls the point of attack. He has excellent range. Wyatt has tremendous upside and could emerge as the top interior lineman in this class”.
Wyatt finished last season with 39 total tackles, seven of those for a loss, with two and a half sacks.
As Jeremiah mentions earlier in his article, his lack of flashy statistics comes from a result of being on a loaded Bulldogs defense.
Don’t be mistaken, even with his size, Wyatt is as quick as anyone at the position.
He also fits right in with the 4-3 scheme of the defense.
Some have him going in the first round, so if he falls to 44, don’t be surprised to see Berry pounce.