2. Sheldon Richardson – Defensive Tackle
While Sheldon Richardson was a splashy signing during the 2019 offseason, he’s still largely underappreciated by fans. The two big reasons for Richardson underappreciate are; one – playing alongside Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon. Two – not having the number of sacks. Any more defensive linemen are judged on sacks alone, and while Richardson can get after the quarterback from the defensive tackle position, he is a better run stuffer that can get overlooked.
Richardson really started to come out in the tape after the Garrett suspension last year. When at times some of the defense looked to be in slow motion, Richardson was still busting his butt every single play. Not only that, but he also showed the versatility to be able to move to defensive end and rush the quarterback. With Garrett gone, the Browns pass rush became non-existent at times and moving Richardson outside on third-down certainly helped with that.
While the focus for defensive linemen anymore is to see how many sacks you can get, even if that means giving up a big run play here and there, Richardson is an old school guy who can do it all. He can get low on the goal line to stop a quarterback sneak, or he can bull rush the center into the quarterback’s chest on third and long. A big man with a wide variety of skills is hard to find in the 2020 NFL.
The Browns have been infamously bad at stopping the run since 1999 and Richardson could be a huge part of being better in 2020. Richardson is under contract through 2021 but could be a cap saving cut next offseason.
Unfortunately, defensive tackle is an underappreciated position in general, and the Browns may not be willing to shell out $13.6 million for his services. Enjoy Richardson while the Browns have him, you will notice quickly how much he does if he ever leaves.