After the long wait, we are officially in Week 1 for the Cleveland Browns as they open their season by hosting the Cincinnati Bengals. Although it would be great to have a cupcake like the Carolina Panthers again, it will be great to see this team vs. strong competition early in the season.
Andrew Berry and Jimmy Haslam have spared no expense for this team as there has been a ton of talent added this offseason and contracts restructured to continue to clear cap space for years to come. For years, the Browns had one of the lowest payrolls in the league, now they have one of the highest.
For a while, it has felt like there weren’t a ton of starting spots on this roster as many players returned and many of the free-agent signings were locked in their positions.
But one thing I noticed in the preseason was a few guys struggling, and a few guys with motors that were fighting like crazy to become NFL starters. Here are three players that could quickly find their way to the bench in 2023.
No. 3: Greg Newsome, CB
First, I’m not saying that Greg Newsome is going to get benched and no longer be playing, but if Denzel Ward can stay healthy, I think you’ll see Martin Emerson emerge as the clear No. 2 cornerback on this team.
I’m sure you all remember the fuss that Newsome raised this offseason saying he wasn’t going to play the nickel position and that he wanted to be traded if he wasn’t going to be on the outside, but once the season starts, he will have lost a lot of leverage.
Emerson didn’t jump off the film in the preseason, but I expect him to pick up exactly where he left off from last year, which means there is no scenario where you can keep this guy off the field. Not only does he have enough speed to hang with the speedsters, but he also has the size and flexibility to stay in position with the elite route runners as well.
Right now, the Browns have a great situation in the secondary where the third safety (Rodney McLeod) and third corner (Emerson) are both good enough to be starters on a lot of NFL teams. Only time will tell if they can officially move up the depth chart.