Cleveland Browns: 3 second-year players who need to succeed
By Randy Gurzi
The Cleveland Browns have a shot to contend in the AFC North this season but will need several players to step up, including the three sophomores
Entering 2019, the Cleveland Browns boast an incredibly young roster. They’re also full of players who are fairly new to the team as guard Joel Bitonio and linebacker Christian Kirksey are the longest-tenured members — both joining the Browns in the 2014 NFL Draft.
The massive turnover is due in large part to general manager John Dorsey‘s pledge to get ‘real football players’. After taking over for Sashi Brown in December of 2017, he decided that the roster needed to be torn down to the studs and be completely rebuilt.
It didn’t take long to see positive change as Cleveland went from a 0-16 franchise to a 7-8-1 club in 2018 — which included a 5-3 second half after Dorsey was finally able to fire head coach Hue Jackson.
During that run, the Browns had a lot of production from plenty of young players. Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield took over and gave the offense a shot in the arm as did fellow rookie Nick Chubb who just missed out on 1,000-yards rushing. Another rookie to step up was cornerback Denzel Ward who made the Pro Bowl for his work in his inaugural season in the league.
While we expect those three second-year players to get the job done again, they won’t be the only players added in the 2018 NFL Draft that the Browns will lean on as they hope to take the next step this year. With that being said, we look at three players who need to be successful in order for Cleveland to be in the mix for the AFC North title.