2. Kevin Johnson becomes starting cornerback
We already looked at the cornerbacks with A.J. Green being a player to win a job in one of these five bold predictions. Now, we jump back to the secondary and look at one of the team’s less-heralded free-agent additions — Kevin Johnson.
For whatever reason, the Browns signing of Johnson made nearly no waves whatsoever but it should have. Johnson was a first-round pick of the Houston Texans back in 2015 out of Wake Forest and he quickly won his coaches over with his technique and savvy which was beyond his years.
After starting 10 games and playing all 16 as a rookie, Johnson started to struggle with durability. He missed 10 games in 2016 and another four in 2017. Then in 2018, he managed to play in just one game before being released by the Texans. Johnson then joined the Buffalo Bills in 2019 and had career-resurgence.
In 16 games, with one start, he had 36 tackles and five pass defenses as he helped Buffalo become one of the best defenses in the NFL. Cleveland liked what they saw and brought him in on a one-year deal and it’s expected he will be the third corner behind Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams. However, with Williams’ not living up to his expectations as a rookie, there’s a chance he might have left the door open for Johnson to be the starter opposite Ward.
If so, look for the veteran to kick that door down as he seeks to earn a multi-year extension. In the end, it won’t be the worst thing for Williams as it could serve as motivation to make him better for the long-term — and it would make the Browns better as well in 2020 since Johnson has the skill set to be a solid starter for them.