Predicting the Cleveland Browns offensive line depth chart in 2020
The Cleveland Browns most upgraded position this offseason is the offensive line. Their first-year general manager, Andrew Berry, brought in the top right tackle free agent in Jack Conklin, as well as drafted a high-end prospect Jedrick Wills Jr. with the number 10 overall pick in the 2020 draft. After seeing Baker Mayfield get sacked 40 times last season, the upgrades were necessary.
If you ask any quarterback in the league what the most important piece to be a successful offense in the NFL is, I would wager 90 percent will say an offensive line. Yes, Drew Brees and Tom Brady make it look easy at times and can get the ball out of their hands quickly. But, if you put them under consistent pressure, they aren’t going to be nearly as efficient.
The Browns offense was a huge disappointment in 2020 after heading into the season with high expectations. I would argue 75 percent of the regression from Mayfield from 2018 to 2019 was related to offensive line struggles, particularly at tackle. The Greg Robinson experiment at left tackle went from bad to worse quickly. The former first-round pick performed well in a few games to end 2018 but was nothing but a revolving door in 2019.
While Robinson struggled, Chris Hubbard at the right tackle wasn’t much better. It felt like every five-step drop play, Mayfield was under pressure instantly.
Constant pressure leads to many negative things for a quarterback, but the biggest for Mayfield was confidence. When he was under pressure, he wasn’t completing passes and the offense was forced to three and outs. When the offense wasn’t performing, Mayfield felt pressure to do better. That pressure led to forcing throws, and forcing throws leads to turnovers….
As you can see much of 2020 was a vicious cycle. But hang tight Browns fans, there is hope yet. While 75 percent of the offensive struggles were the fault of the offensive line, the remaining 25 percent was Freddie Kitchens. That means with a fresh offensive line and upgraded head coach/play-caller, the Browns can expect big things in 2020.
Let’s take a dive at what the offensive line will look like for week one in 2020.