1. Starting DT spots
The only defensive starters not returning in 2022 are Malik Jackson and Malik McDowell — who both just happened to play defensive tackle. While Cleveland did retain Jadeveon Clowney to play across from Myles Garrett on the edge, they still have some questions in the middle.
They avoided using an early draft pick there and didn’t go after any big-name free agents for the interior of their line. Instead, they used a fourth-round pick on Perrion Winfrey who will try and push his way past another couple of mid-round guys in Jordan Elliott (third-round pick in 2020) and Tommy Togiai (fourth-round pick in 2021).
Another name being thrown in the mix is Taven Bryan, who was a first-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018 out of Florida. Bryan came into the league with some impressive interior pass-rushing skills but has yet to reach his ceiling.
Throughout his first four seasons in the league, Bryan has 86 tackles and 5.5 sacks. Last year, he recorded just 15 tackles and had two sacks. GM Andrew Berry is banking on him being able to reach his full potential now that he has a fresh start.
Training camp will be the first chance to see how these players look and it will give us a better idea of what defensive coordinator Joe Woods could be planning to do with this platoon of defensive linemen.