Cleveland Browns: The importance of Chris Smith in 2018


The Cleveland Browns have two potentially great edge rushers, but they need someone to step up in case of emergency, enter free agent pick up Chris Smith

After drafting Emmanuel Ogbah at No. 32 in 2016 and Myles Garrett at No. 1 in 2017, the Cleveland Browns boast a talented duo of defensive ends. Both are great at pressuring the passer, but underrated against the run.

With two complete defenders on the edges, things should be smooth sailing for the Browns, provided they stay healthy. In 2017, that wasn’t the case.

Their prized rookie missed five games as he battled an ankle injury and a later concussion. He showed off plenty of promise, but his absence hurt the defense that was counting on him.

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Ogbah also missed a lot of time, playing in 10 games before landing on the injured reserve with a broken bone in his foot. It was disappointing as they both were good with Ogbah jumping from a 47.8 to 72.6 grade according to Pro Football Focus and Garrett graded at an 88.4.

With them on the sidelines, there was a lot of talent missing from the lineup, so the Browns added some depth in former Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Chris Smith.

Smith’s importance can’t be understated. Without the combination of Ogbah and Garrett, the team struggled to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Carl Nassib saw time and played well, but is better against the run than the pass. Smith is the opposite as he shows more promise in getting after the passer.

His presence allows the team to spell either Ogbah or Garrett, while also providing a veteran presence with some pass rushing ability should one of them miss time again.

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For all the praise general manager John Dorsey has gotten this offseason, this move has gone mostly unnoticed. It shouldn’t be though, this was a smart signing that could help in 2018.