3. The integration of the rookies
For the first time in ages, the Browns aren’t counting on a rookie to start, and there’s a fairly good chance none of them do, at least right away. Even first-round pick Greg Newsome II will need to beat out incumbent starter Greedy Williams, whose 2019 rookie season was better than many remember it being.
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (who will begin training camp on the COVID-19 reserve list) is far and away the team’s most talented linebacker, but that isn’t a role he played in college, and he’ll likely have some growing pains as he lines up in the tackle box more often.
Anthony Schwartz has plenty of money ahead of him on the depth chart, as well as Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge, and Donovan Peoples-Jones, the team’s most effective receivers from last season. Schwartz’s speed will get him onto the field in a specific role, but he has a good deal of development to undergo before he’s ready to be a starter.
The rest of the draft picks are all clear depth. Newsome and JOK have the best shot at starting early on, but both will have to earn their roles. It will be very interesting to see how quickly Owusu-Koramoah in particular is brought along, because while he is new to the LB position, he is a truly elite athlete with excellent coverage skills, and those will be valuable even if he isn’t great against the run.