Taking a look at the Browns defensive tackle room

Browns, Jordan Elliott. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Browns, Jordan Elliott. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

The main two questions with the Cleveland Browns roster are at wide receiver and defensive tackle. How is the interior defensive line shaking out?

As roster cuts start coming, the Cleveland Browns are beginning to weed out players who won’t be making the team. There have been several players battling at defensive tackle, and it’s a position that the Browns desperately need someone to step up at.

At this point, there’s no clear winner, and who will start in Week 1 is still a mystery. Recently, they cut veteran Sheldon Day which means it’s all young players fighting for snaps.

Currently, the main names to keep an eye on in the defensive tackle room are Perrion Winfrey, Jordan Elliott, Tommy Togiai, and Taven Bryan. All but Bryan have been drafted by Andrew Berry. There’s plenty of talent between all of these guys, but so far no one has fully emerged as a clear starter. But there is one of them to keep an eye on specifically.

Jordan Elliott could be the Browns top DT

Jordan Elliott is going into his third year and it is, without question, his biggest season yet. The Browns took him in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft with the expectation that with some development, he could be the starter in a year or two. Elliott has admittedly not come along as fast as the coaching staff hoped, but there are some signs that he may seize the opportunity in the 2022 season.

He showed up to camp with 20 pounds of muscle added to his body, and according to Myles Garrett, he’s looked the most explosive off the line that he ever has. That is high praise coming from the All-Pro. Is this the year that he finally breaks out? We’ll see, but it is definitely trending in that direction.

Who else is in the mix?

The other name to keep an eye on is former first-round pick, Taven Bryan. This is his first season in Cleveland’s system, but he has been coming along nicely and could get some playing time if he finishes strong in the pre-season. This may be a chance for him to restart his career and show why he was drafted so early. He had 5.5 sacks in 4 years with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Fan favorite Perrion Winfrey hasn’t had a great showing in his two preseason games. That isn’t exactly a reason to panic, it just means he needs more time to develop. He has appeared fairly slow off the ball and if you watch the tape, he constantly gets pushed back on run plays.

He has had a few nice plays to build off of, but overall there is a lot to be done for him to be a starter in the NFL. He has three tackles in two preseason games so far and is sitting at a low 41.4 PFF grade. It would be nice to see him get a sack or tackle for loss in this final preseason game so there’s something positive to build off of.

Second-year lineman Tommy Togiai is in a similar boat as Perrion Winfrey. There haven’t been many memorable plays between his lackluster 2021 season and the 2022 preseason. He was always going to need a lot of time to develop as well, so don’t be surprised if he doesn’t get a lot of playing time in 2022. He has 7 total tackles and a 48.8 PFF grade in the pre-season. He needs to show a lot more in the coming weeks.

With more questions than answers, it might be smart for the Browns to bring in a veteran to help out the defensive tackle room. At this point, Elliott and Bryan are the top two candidates and they both come with loads of questions. Maybe as the season goes on, someone will step up and solidify that position.

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