Cleveland Browns: 5 Under the radar breakout candidates in 2020
By Randy Gurzi
2. Chad Thomas, Defensive End
Last season, the Browns had to go deep in their depth chart when it came to defensive ends. They were already criminally thin at the position after John Dorsey traded away Emmanuel Ogbah and Genard Avery. Then there was an injury to Olivier Vernon and Myles Garrett was suspended for smacking Mason Rudolph in the head with his own helmet.
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With both of them out, it highlighted how bad of a decision it was for Dorsey to trade off all their depth — many combat that opinion this by saying you can’t predict injuries or suspensions, but that’s what depth is all about, being prepared for what you cannot predict.
By the end of the season, the Browns were starting Chad Thomas and Bryan Cox with Porter Gustin also receiving significant playing time. While that’s not their ideal lineup, it was good for someone such as Thomas to get so many snaps.
A third-round pick out of Miami in 2018, Thomas was much-maligned for not contributing as a rookie. Some fans were questioning his love for the game — thinking he put his music career ahead of the NFL — which led to the belief he was a bad pick.
What wasn’t being taken into account was the fact that Thomas battled injuries as a rookie and plays one of the toughest positions for transitioning from college to the NFL. The good news for Thomas was that he played well in 2019, finishing with 26 tackles and four sacks.
He wasn’t consistent though and at times he seemed to disappear. Still, it was a far cry from what we saw during his rookie season and should give us all hope that he can continue to make big strides in his third season.