Cleveland Browns veteran Adrian Clayborn will be a quality rotational defensive end.
The Cleveland Browns defensive ends look to be a formidable group overall heading into the 2020 campaign. Of course, we know what Myles Garrett brings when he’s out there. Garrett obviously did not close out last season how he wanted to, but lets not rehash. Either way, Garrett has had 30.5 sacks in 35 career starts, and he’s a game-wrecker.
It’s understandable that there’s been speculation the Browns want to try to extend him long term, of which DPD’s Greg Newland emphasized. Garrett is one of the game’s best pass rushers, and he’s a gifted run defender.
Though he did not have the year he would’ve wanted in 2019, Olivier Vernon looks to be another talented defensive end starter for Cleveland. Hopefully Vernon, who dealt with a nagging knee injury last year and missed six games, can be healthier in 2020, especially from a run game standpoint.
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
When he has been, he’s been an impact player previously for the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants. Through eight seasons, he has had 54.5 sacks, and 141 quarterback hits, while also registering 29 pressures in 2018 with the Giants.
Also, rotational defensive end Chad Thomas, who did make strides in 2019, should be a decent reserve piece for Cleveland.
Granted, the rotational defensive end that jumps out for next season is more seasoned, Adrian Clayborn.
Clayborn will be a quality insurance piece on the edge for the Cleveland Browns in 2020.
Clayborn was signed earlier this offseason to a two-year deal worth $6 million, and while Clayborn is not a starting defensive end, he is a nice rotational end to have.
Clayborn is still a reliable run defender who should be able to further help Thomas in his development. Along those lines, one would imagine, Clayborn should be a good leadership/locker room presence as well.
The 32-year-old, while again is not a starting type, should be a quality insurance piece if Vernon/potentially Garrett were to miss time. Vernon missed five games with the New York Giants in 2018 due to an ankle injury, and that seemed to hinder him then, and we hit on his past season’s injury woes.
Considering that, it is at least comforting from the Cleveland Browns’ perspective to have a solid insurance piece such as Clayborn, if he can stay healthy. Since a biceps injury in 2014, he mostly has and from a rotational standpoint, one would believe he would for Cleveland.
Anyway, to be clear, Clayborn is almost certainly not going to have a six-sack game again in his career, as he did in 2017 with the Atlanta Falcons, as DPD’s Mitch Zoloty previously highlighted. In that one, as Zoloty alluded to, Clayborn most notably had two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, too, while abusing Dallas Cowboys backup tackle Chaz Green on that night.
In any case, given how the novel coronavirus pandemic has impacted the offseason, it’s reassuring to know the Browns will have a solid insurance defensive end in Clayborn in 2020 (if they can play, hopefully). That’s again, factoring in if Vernon or maybe Garrett got banged up, coupled with that offseason aspect.
Now Clayborn, who has only been a regular starter in two seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has had 36.5 sacks in his nine seasons. That’s not a ton, no. Even so, Clayborn has proven to set the edge consistently in the run game, and likely will when needed for Cleveland.
Clayborn still could be a quality rotational piece to have on the edge for passing situations as well. Additionally, he could line up on the inside on occasion with Vernon and Garrett on the perimeter and help collapse the pocket, or loop around as a stunter.
Along with that, when Clayborn got his chance as a rusher last season with the Falcons, though the basic box score didn’t necessarily illuminate it, he was very productive, as Pro Football Focus’ Ben Linsey mentioned. Linsey hit on how among those on the edge with 200-plus pass rushing snaps, Clayborn was fifth in pass-rush win rate at 21.1 percent.
Anyhow, while it’s tough to have set expectations for Clayborn in 2020, he’s the kind of veteran that helps build a winning culture. Clayborn played in the Super Bowl in 2017 with Atlanta and won the Super Bowl in 2019 with the New England Patriots.
Moreover, his presence should definitely be felt in ways that go beyond the basic box score for this still young Cleveland Browns team looking to make the postseason in 2020.