For many Cleveland Browns veterans, workouts and meetings are just part of the offseason routine.
Even with a new quarterback, they are confident in their position and role on the 2022 squad.
But there are a couple of dozen rookies and other new faces walking around Berea this month.
And each one dreams of seeing their name on the final 53-man roster come September.
.@TheRealTRizzo "If Deshaun Watson is what the Browns think Deshaun Watson will be, this draft is an A+"#Browns pic.twitter.com/QlcM1C2Aha
— ESPN Cleveland (@ESPNCleveland) May 2, 2022
If that is not enough to motivate the returning players, maybe a little introspection will help.
Cleveland finished a disappointing 8-9 last year, and not everything that went wrong happened behind center.
Kevin Stefanski and his coaches had a whole offseason to watch video and see where things went awry.
Everyone is accountable for themselves, but here are 3 Browns players with the most to prove in 2022.
Jedrick Wills, OT
As Andrew Berry’s first-ever Browns draft pick, Jedrick Wills might receive some extra patience and effort.
But there is little doubt he has to take a big step forward in 2022.
Wills suffered an ankle injury that cost him snaps in the first 4 games before the team sat him down for 2 weeks.
When he returned, Wills played 100% of the offensive plays in games he started the rest of the season.
Jedrick Wills has buckled down and put in a ton of work this off-season. Made it a point to be absent off social media and just work.
Excited to see the leap he can make in year 3. (Via @Browns) pic.twitter.com/0EEc9mMQ0n
— Brandon Little (@BrandonLittleFB) May 10, 2022
But even after the Browns’ injury list stopped mentioning his ankle, there were signs of a problem.
It seemed like Wills’ footwork changed a bit, and too many plays ended with Wills unattached to a rusher.
Of course, there were also some great plays, and it is that inconsistency Wills has to conquer.
Because PFF scores in the low 60s won’t stop Berry from drafting another big tackle in 2023.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR
Cleveland used third-round picks in the 2021 and 2022 NFL Drafts on wide receivers.
The most recent pick, David Bell, is already called the heir apparent to Jarvis Landry.
And after a tough rookie season, Anthony Schwartz is getting a lot of hype as Cleveland’s deep threat.
Donovan Peoples-Jones had a solid rookie year with a couple of memorable plays, like the game-winner against Cincinnati.
According to @PFF, Donovan Peoples-Jones leads the NFL in contested catch % going 9-9 in 2021 (min 4 CTT). He also leads all receivers in passer rating when targeted (158.3). #Browns pic.twitter.com/cdlIxE1Tyq
— OBR Film Breakdown (@TheOBRFilmBDN) October 19, 2021
But DPJ’s catch percentage dropped to 58%, and Baker Mayfield was picked off 3 times throwing his way in 2021.
He also fumbled twice and dropped 3 passes, securing a 5% drop rate over his first two seasons.
Stefanski believes all of his receivers will be better in 2022 with Deshaun Watson throwing the ball.
DPJ needs to remind Stefanski why he was considered a steal in the 2020 NFL Draft and secure his WR-2 status.
Jordan Elliott, IDL
If Cleveland expects big things from their 2021 and 2022 third-round draft picks, what about their 2020 selection?
Defensive tackle Jordan Elliott was a dominant pass rusher for Missouri.
And his PFF draft profile predicted he would be a quality contributor at the NFL level sooner than later.
Here’s hoping the third season is the charm for Elliott.
Jordan Elliott ready to 'step up to the plate' on our D-Line
📰 » https://t.co/oqY8qx7BGK pic.twitter.com/PkVJqM0sOH
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) June 10, 2021
Limited snaps in a crowded and changing rotation might have limited his input so far.
Elliott registered only half a sack in 2 seasons and no tackles for a loss, to go with 4 quarterback hits.
Barring the signing of a veteran starter, Elliott should see more action alongside second-year player, Tommy Togiai.
But if he doesn’t make more of an impact, rookie Perrion Winfrey and Togiai could be the starters by 2023.
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