Cleveland Browns most improved position groups
No. 4: Defensive Tackle
The Browns defense as a whole struggled in 2018 but the defensive line was especially bad. They addressed that in a couple of ways this offseason, the biggest being their moves for edge rusher Olivier Vernon and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
While both positions are improved, the addition of Richardson is the key one — even if it doesn’t get the love it deserves. Last season, the Browns were 28th in the league in stopping the run.
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The worst example of this came in Week 17 as the Ravens went for nearly 300 yards on the ground in a close contest. Had they been able to slow that running game just a little, Cleveland may have been able to secure their first winning season since 2007.
Understanding the need in this area, John Dorsey went out and landed one of the biggest free agent prizes at the position. Richardson is a former first-round pick who is coming off one of his more efficient seasons. He was a key cog in the middle of a talented Minnesota Vikings defensive line and excelled as both a run stuffer and pass rusher.
His arrival will have a trickle-down effect as it forces offensive lines to send attention his way. That opens things up for others, such as Larry Ogunjobi who is coming off a breakout season.
With Richardson and Ogunjobi set as the starters, the Browns no longer have a weakness at defensive tackle. Instead, they have a Pro Bowl player lining up next to a developing star who has the potential to become a Pro Bowler himself.