This season, the Browns made sure they were going to have some depth behind Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon by signing Adrian Clayborn in free agency. Last year when both Garrett and Vernon were out, they were down to Chad Thomas and Bryan Cox with Porter Gustin also taking a lot of snaps. At the time, none of those players had much experience at all in the NFL, which forced them to learn on the job during a crucial time of the season.
That wasn’t an ideal situation but someone such as Clayborn gives them a third player they would be more than comfortable starting for several weeks in a row if they needed to. A 10-year veteran, Clayborn has 110 career games with 51 starts under his belt. He’s also racked up 36.5 career sacks, including one game where he had six against the Dallas Cowboys in 2017.
When pressed into action last year, Chad Thomas stepped up and showed improvement from his rookie campaign the prior season. Thomas started eight games while playing in all 16 and finished with 26 tackles and four sacks.
He still has a ways to go in order to be an every-down player but his progress from year one to year two was impressive and there’s hope he can continue to grow into a trusted player on the Browns defensive line.