Cleveland Browns: 53-man roster prediction for defense

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BEREA, OH - AUGUST 10: Linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah #28 of the Cleveland Browns runs a drill during Cleveland Browns Training Camp on August 10, 2021 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)
BEREA, OH - AUGUST 10: Linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah #28 of the Cleveland Browns runs a drill during Cleveland Browns Training Camp on August 10, 2021 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Browns
Jun 9, 2021; Berea, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns long snapper Charley Hughlett (47) and punter Jamie Gillan (7) and kicker Cody Parkey (2) and kicker Chase McLaughlin (3) walk on to the field during organized team activities at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Joe Wood’s defense was awful at times last year, the Cleveland Browns will need him in a big way to compete for a Super Bowl in 2021.

Recently, we focused on the 2021 Cleveland Browns offense and kick returners in an offensive-centric 53-man roster prediction. Now it is time to shift gears and focus on the defense.

This is a defense the struggled mightily for most of 2020, and first-year defensive coordinator, Joe Woods, was basically given a free pass. There were a ton of injuries across the board, and the roster lacked talent.

Woods came to Cleveland with the expectation of running the 4-2-5 defense, and he finally has the personnel to do so. His leash will certainly be shorter in 2021, as expectations are high, but here is a preview of your Cleveland Browns 2021 defense starting with special teams.

Special Teams

Unlike last year, the special team’s category won’t have a ton of competition coming into camp. After a disastrous 2019 season, the special team’s coordinator, Mike Preifer, finally got things dialed in for the 2020 season. Luckily for the Browns, there will be familiar faces back for the 2021 title run.

Jamie Gillan, aka “the Scottish hammer”, will do the punting again as well as place kick holding.  Gillan was a surprise in 2019 but did struggle slightly in 2020. While he still got his distance, he really struggled with hang time, which led to a lot of big returns.

Cody Parkey will once again do the placekicking.  It feels like a revolving door of kickers since the great Phil Dawson left, but Parkey was very good last year. Parkey was fantastic on field goals, going 19 of 22, but he did miss four extra points, which is always a nightmare. Parkey is a veteran who will work out the XP issues, and be a great asset in 2021.

Charley Hughlett will return for his seventh season as the Browns long snapper. This is no surprise as he is the longest-tenured player on the Browns roster currently.

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