Defensive Line (9)
Last season, the Browns defensive line was expected to be a strength, but that wasn’t the case. For that reason, they worked hard on creating depth and competition.
2019 ended on a sour note for Myles Garrett as he was suspended for the final six games of the year. This season, things are much better since he just signed a massive five-year extension.
He’s the face of the Cleveland defense and is still scratching the surface as a player. Garrett should be laser-focused this season to silence his critics and prove he belongs to be mentioned among the best edge rushers in the game.
A big signing ahead of last season, Sheldon Richardson was the most consistent defensive linemen for the Browns last season. He was also the only starter to play in all 16 games.
He’s a versatile player who can play defensive end if needed but excels as an interior player. His ability to disrupt the offense with his interior pass rush helps the entire defensive line.
One area where Cleveland struggled last year was in stopping the run. Andrew Billings helps in that area as the former Cincinnati Bengals nose tackle is great at stuffing the run. Here it’s predicted that he plays ahead of Larry Ogunjobi, and the reason is simply what he brings as a run defender.
The big question for Olivier Vernon is health. The former New York Giants defensive end struggled with a knee injury last season and missed six games. He re-negotiated his contract this offseason which could motivate him to be even better in 2020.
Larry Ogunjobi is great at rushing the passer from the interior but he could end up coming off the bench due to the arrival of Andrew Billings. That’s not terrible though as it means he will be able to focus more on doing damage on passing downs.
Cleveland’s defensive line depth was questionable last year and they really were hurting at defensive end. That led to the signing of Adrian Clayborn which was a brilliant move. Clayborn is capable of starting and gives them quality veteran depth on the edge.
A third-round pick from Missouri, Jordan Elliott gives the Browns a lot more depth on the interior of their defensive line than they had in 2019. He’s a talented player and could become a contributor early in his career.
This is a big year for Chad Thomas. The 2018 third-round pick took a step forward in his second season but now finds himself behind the two starters and Adrian Clayborn. He showed flashes but needs to be more consistent.
The final defensive line spot goes to Daniel Ekuale who is a former undrafted free agent from 2018. He has just four career tackles but at least he does have some experience which helps him win a job.