2022 will be a big season for the Cleveland Browns.
Improvements need to be made on both sides of the football.
Certain personnel needs upgraded while others must continue their development with the team.
With young talent scattered across the depth chart, there are individuals whose development should take a huge leap next season.
Here are two guys in particular who have a chance to blossom in 2022.
1. Greg Newsome II, Cornerback
Greg Newsome II showed why professional scouts loved him coming out of Northwestern.
The feet. The eyes. The hips. The confidence. The speed. The technique. Greg Newsome showing what made him such a fun prospect to scout at Northwestern#Browns
— Anthony Cover 1 (@Pro__Ant) November 29, 2021
It’s not easy for a rookie to start their career by being thrown into the fire against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense.
Yet, Newsome answered that call just fine.
His season opening outing ranked higher, per Pro Football Focus, than any other rookie corner taken before him in the draft.
Greg Newsome was the fourth corner taken in the draft and faced the Chiefs in his rookie debut. Yet of those 4 corners taken in the top 26, his rookie debut was the highest-graded (72.6). Surtain (57.7), Horn (62.0), Farley (62.7). Newsome is the real deal. #Browns pic.twitter.com/wq69n6UWMM
— Jacob Roach (@roachizm13) September 14, 2021
Cleveland wanted a shutdown corner opposite of Denzel Ward and struck gold with Newsome.
Greg Newsome II on 20+ yard targets in his rookie season
▪️ 10 targets (3 catches allowed)
▪️ 0 TDs
▪️ 4 forced incompletions pic.twitter.com/6yXkZiSKub
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) January 16, 2022
Newsome’s ability to play the ball without being penalized is already top-tier.
Below you’ll see some pass deflection numbers from mid-December.
Newsome stacks up just fine with another top corner in the league.
Greg Newsome II having 7 PBUs on only 39 targets is actually kind of nutty.
For comparison's sake, Trevon Diggs has 8 PBUs….on 88 targets.
— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) December 22, 2021
The Pro Football Writers of America also named Newsome to the all-rookie team this year.
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) January 25, 2022
Newsome appeared in 12 of Cleveland’s 17 games this season and started 11 of those.
A concussion and COVID issues forced Greg to sit out a couple of games.
If the Browns had delivered on expectations this season, there might be a much larger national conversation happening about Newsome right now.
However, those who watched him at any point this year know how special he can be.
With an offseason in front of him to get healthy and improve physically, Newsome should be looking to dominate in 2022.
2. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Wide Receiver
If that doesn’t happen, DPJ may not have much say in the matter of him improving.
After all, he can’t throw himself the football.
Peoples-Jones could very well have a much larger role next season.
With the future of Jarvis Landry uncertain, DPJ could start next season at the top of the depth chart.
While his target volume went up this season, both his catch percentage and yards per target took a hit.
Some of that is on Mayfield’s regression.
His drop against the Raiders served as a massive late-season blunder.
Donovan Peoples-Jones with a brutal drop pic.twitter.com/abswBtnFTm
— Alex (@dbs408) December 20, 2021
The speed and athleticism cannot be denied.
DPJ has also shown the ability to be a deep threat for the Browns’ offense.
Jim Donovan & Donovan Peoples-Jones 🔥 combo! pic.twitter.com/anMt5Jes2W
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 9, 2021
However, Peoples-Jones’ inconsistencies this season mirrored those of the team.
Some snaps were great, others left plenty to be desired.
Again, depending on how things work out with Jarvis, DPJ could be the top wideout in Cleveland next season.
Attacking this offseason with that assumption and coming into camp ready to rock should be the focus of Peoples-Jones this summer.
Being a sixth-round pick, he’s already surpassed initial expectations.
Who’s to say he can’t break through those once more?