The Cleveland Browns defense had another down year in 2019. If a few key players can deliver, can the 2020 defense become one of the league's best?
Despite the promising offseason, the Cleveland Browns defensive unit failed to produce in a high caliber way. According to NFL.com, the Browns defense ranked 30th in run defense, 22nd in total yards per game, and 20th in points per game. In order to be a playoff contender, the defensive numbers have to drastically improve.
In order for the defensive statistics to be better than 2019, the Browns must stop the run, and get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks — something that didn't happen in 2019 outside of Myles Garrett. Missed tackles were also an enormous issue for the Browns last year, but it can be fixed.
Fortunately for the Browns, they have the talent on their defense to be a better unit in 2020. Several of the players drafted in recent years have developed into legitimate players and will continue to get better.
Here are 3 players that must step up for the Cleveland Browns defense in 2020.
Honorable mentions: Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams
When Denzel Ward is on the field, Ward is a dominant, lock-down corner that can take away half of the field. The problem with Ward is he is not consistently on the field for the Browns defense. He sat 3 games as a rookie and 4 games this past season with injuries. Ward needs to gain weight and strength this offseason to help develop durability. We need him on the field for the Browns in 2020.
Greedy Williams is naturally gifted with great size and speed and has what it takes to be a top corner in this league. In 2019, he showed real promise, but only in flashes. He struggled to tackle consistently and sat out a few games due to injury. If Williams can work on tacking in space, he will be much improved in 2020.