Finally, a run stopper in Jordan Elliott
Yeah, I know… the picture does not match the title, because it shows defensive tackle Jordan Elliott as a Missouri Tiger (yep, another SEC product) about to squish quarterback Ryan Hilinski of South Carolina, rather than making a play on a running back. The problem is that defensive tackles are another position that dwells in relative anonymity and get nearly zero attention unless they sack the quarterback.
But in the case of the Browns, they desperately need somebody who is stout against the run, especially in the post-Joe Schobert era, and they might have found their man in Jordan Elliot. Last season at Missouri he had 44 tackles including 8.5 tackles for loss (TFL). He added 2.5 sacks also. That was good enough to earn a third-round draft selection with Cleveland. As a rookie, he has already managed to enter the rotation with the big man, Sheldon Richardson, along with Larry Ogunjobi.
Surprisingly, the big kid has already taken 60 snaps on defense. He has not put up gaudy numbers, but his job is to plug up the middle of the field and prevent the opponents from gaining penetration. This is what he has done.
Much ado was made of the fact that Joe Burrow threw the ball 61 times against the Browns on Thursday. The reason was that they did not think that Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard were going to be able to make first downs on the ground against the Browns. That doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, but it is clear that for the first time in years the Browns defense was a threat against the run. Credit has to go to the linemen and linebackers up front.
So far, the Browns have three defensive tackles graded within the top 20 by Pro Football Focus and Elliott is number 10. Did anyone out there see that coming?