Cleveland Browns Draft: 3 Early Possible DT Targets in 2023

Cleveland Browns, Joe Woods
Cleveland Browns, Joe Woods /
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The Cleveland Browns would benefit from addressing their need at defensive tackle at next year’s NFL Draft.

By now, it’s quite an understatement to say the Cleveland Browns need help at defensive tackle. It’s one of — if not the biggest deficiency — they’re dealing with. It’s arguably the worst positional unit in the league right now. Failing to adequately fill the position over the last few years has caught up to this team. While Perrion Winfrey surely fits into the Browns’ long-term plans, the rest of the unit should be scrapped.

Cleveland’s run defense has been gashed all season long, especially in terms of scoring. Opposing running backs have tallied 13 touchdowns on the ground against this defense. Coming off of their bye week, the Browns are currently surrendering nearly five yards per rushing attempt (4.6). Twice this season, Joe Woods’ defense fell victim to 200-plus rushing yard performances, and four times, they surrendered more than 93 yards. It’s an underwhelming performance, to say the least.

In terms of pass rush, the Browns’ defensive tackles also lack in that department. Jordan Elliot has two tackles for a loss and one sack so far, not eye-popping figures by any stretch. In fact, the front seven overall does leave a lot to be desired. Browns fans are fully aware of Myles Garrett’s exploits (7.5 sacks, 8 tackles for a loss, and 2 forced fumbles), but after him, there’s a steep drop-off in production.

The Browns need a stronger interior presence, point blank. Luckily for general manager Andrew Berry, there are going to be a few notable prospects they can target in the second and even third rounds next April.

Browns Draft: 3 Early Possible DT Targets in 2023

Browns, Taven Bryan. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images) /

Cleveland Browns DT Target No. 1: Calijah Kancey

Pitt. player. Scouting Report. DT. CalijahKancey. 1st. 53. Pick Analysis

Of the three prospects listed today, Calijah Kancey from Pitt is the smallest. In terms of stature, Kancey stands at -6-foot-0 and 280 pounds. However, what he lacks in size, he makes up for in production. In the last two seasons, Kancey has recorded 11 sacks, along with 23.5 tackles for a loss. He’s been in the top eight within the ACC for those two key categories during that stretch as well.

Kancey’s pass-rushing prowess is so remarkable that Pro Football Focus grades him at 91.6 in that department this year. As mentioned before, Kancey’s size is a concern at the next level, yet at the same time, his brute strength and explosiveness are so remarkable that a boost to the Browns’ pass rush might be worth the gamble. Just look at how he gets off his first block and then plows the second defender en route to a sack.

Just looking at his film this season, Kancey’s athleticism and movement are unreal. He literally plays and moves like a linebacker despite playing in the interior. He possesses exceptional lower-leg strength, and that explosive initial step is something that can’t be coached

. That same strength also allows Kancey to contribute to run defense; he holds his own against blockers inside and has more than enough speed to chase down running backs despite his position.