Cleveland Browns: 5 2021 New Year’s resolutions

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) gets his team fired up before an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Cleveland, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]Browns 15 1
Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) gets his team fired up before an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Cleveland, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]Browns 15 1 /
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Cleveland Browns. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Rebuild the defense

For as bad as the Cleveland defense has been this season, it’s a wonder the team has won 10 games. Getting Delpit back will be massive for how the Browns play defense, but he won’t fix everything. Andrew Berry’s first offseason as general manager was spent putting quarterback Baker Mayfield in the best possible position to succeed, and that’s exactly what has happened.

In year two, the defense will be the priority. Because with Mayfield’s play over the second half of the season, this Browns team with even a slightly above average defense would be a serious player in the AFC championship race. Perhaps not the Super Bowl contenders that they were hailed as prior to 2019, but they will need to prove themselves before that talk starts again, and they are completely fine with doing that.

In order to do that, Berry will need to procure starting-caliber players at defensive tackle, EDGE, two linebackers, two cornerbacks, and one safety, in addition to perhaps replacing guys like Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi. Andrew Sendejo, Karl Joseph, Terrance Mitchell, Kevin Johnson, B.J. Goodson, Malcolm Smith, and M.J. Stewart are also on expiring deals.

Depth is a major issue and must be improved. It’s a tall task, and it won’t all be accomplished in one offseason, but just a few good starters would go a long way.