Once Watson serves his probable suspension, he will take the field with a crew that includes elite running back Nick Chubb, four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper and All-Pro pass rusher Myles Garrett.
But Cleveland still needs a few more pieces in order to make appearing in the postseason a new habit, and one or two of those pieces should ideally be in the secondary.
Safety Ronnie Harrison came to the team two years ago, and the Browns were likely hoping that he would become one of those pieces.
He wasn’t too bad in 2020, his first season in The Land, but this past season he definitely didn’t get the job done.
People with a proven track record deserve a second chance#Browns Safety Ronnie Harrison
2020: 81.2 passer rating when targeted 1 TD allowed
2021: 113 passer rating
6 TDs Allowed
This year is put up or shut up for 33
— Mac🦬 (@tha_buffalo) June 24, 2022
For the Browns to return to the playoffs, Harrison needs to bounce back strong.
Harrison’s Production Fell Off A Cliff In 2021
Harrison, a University of Alabama product, was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
He showed a bit of promise in 2019, his second season in the pros, when he posted 71 tackles (44 solo) and two interceptions.
That year, he only allowed a completion rate of 55.3 percent when the wideout he was covering was targeted by the opposing quarterback.
In his first season with the Browns, Harrison’s effectiveness eroded a bit, but he wasn’t exactly terrible.
His allowed completion rate slipped to 61.9 percent, while the passer rating allowed when his receiver was targeted went from 68.7 to 81.2, which is still solid.
But this past season, Harrison was simply a liability.
Although his allowed completion rate remained steady at 61.3 percent, but allowed a woeful passer rating of 113.0.
In addition, he started the season off on the wrong foot when he appeared to step on the Kansas City Chiefs’ Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who was on the ground, then shoved Chiefs running backs coach Greg Lewis after Lewis appeared to try to restrain him.
Let’s show the whole Ronnie Harrison video, not just the part that makes him out to be the villain. What he did was absolutely justified. pic.twitter.com/TOdcaS6Alg
— 🅱️🅰️Ⓜ️ (@big__bam) September 12, 2021
Harrison ended up being fined by the NFL for the incident.
The positive for him is that he recently turned 25, which means he should have plenty of room for improvement or at least refinement.
But if he doesn’t improve this coming season, it may become harder for him to remain in the league.
The Browns Need To Step Up Defensively As A Whole
In 2021, Cleveland’s defense wasn’t too bad, and it even ranked fifth in passing yards and total yards allowed.
But there are holes that do need to be addressed.
The team was only 21st in forced turnovers, 22nd in passing touchdowns allowed and 26th in forced fumbles.
Better production from the secondary could go a long way in improving those numbers, and a strong year from Harrison would be a big factor in the Browns doing so.
When Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward recently suffered a foot injury, members of the Dawg Pound feared the worst.
However, Ward himself said he would be good to go once training camp starts in a few weeks, which is certainly good news.