3 Cleveland Browns breakout candidates for the 2023 season

David Eulitt/GettyImages
1 of 3

The Cleveland Browns cut their roster down to the final 53 on Wednesday, and it looks like a roster that is set to bounce back this season. It's tough to find clear holes in the depth chart, as the additions of Za'Darius Smith, Dalvin Tomlinson, Elijah Moore, and Cedric Tillman have bolstered two position groups that struggled at times last season.

However, the difference between being good and being great relies on the performance of a select few. The Browns already have a superstar at each level of the offense, but the supporting cast has been the issue in recent seasons.

This article points out three players on the offensive side of the ball who can push this team to be great with a breakout season.

3. Deshaun Watson, QB

Just as it seems every year, the Cleveland Browns season will directly rely on their quarterback bouncing back from a down year. Although Deshaun Watson’s play in 2022 came under unusual circumstances, he was nowhere near the quarterback that fans were expecting to see. In Watson’s six games in 2022, he averaged 184 passing yards per game with a 58.3% completion percentage. Those are nearly identical statistics to those of Houston Texans QB Davis Mills during the same timeframe. 

That being said, Deshaun Watson gets the opportunity to have a standard offseason and training camp with his teammates as the season approaches. In 2022, he was only able to practice with the rest of his team for one week prior to his return. His lack of comfort in the offense was apparent last season and it was shown in his hesitancy to make decisions. In his six starts, Deshaun Watson had the 2nd highest Time to Throw in the NFL, with an average of 2.88 seconds, indicating his indecisiveness. 

Him being more comfortable in this offense will be noticeable and should have a major impact. The Browns have also made improvements to the wide receiver room this season, with the additions of Elijah Moore, Cedric Tillman, and Marquise Goodwin. Expect to see a much-improved version of Deshaun Watson this season – the only question is if he can return all the way to his Pro Bowl form.