3 young Cleveland Browns headed for bigger roles in 2023 after first wave of free agency

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Cleveland Browns
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Browns rising star No. 2: Perrion Winfrey, DT

In need of some help on the interior of their defensive line, Cleveland used a fourth-round pick in 2022 on Perrion Winfrey out of Oklahoma. Known as a pass-rushing specialist, Winfrey recorded 5.5 sacks in his senior season.

He then showed up to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, and completely bullied everyone who tried to block him.

Even with all that being the case, he was still considered a below average run defender, which is why he slid to Round 4.

Once he did get selected by Cleveland, he became an instant fan favorite. His energetic personality and excitement to join the Dawg Pound and play alongside Myles Garrett was greeted with enthusiasm.

That excitement waned during the season as Winfrey found himself in the wrong dog house. But after dealing with early disciplinary concerns, he was able to redeem himself near the end of the year and finished his rookie campaign on a high note.

Now looking ahead to 2023, he should have an even greater role — and some of the early moves in free agency suggest as much.

Cleveland has focused heavily on the defensive tackle position by showing interest in Javon Hargrave, Dre'Mont Jones, and Dalvin Tomlinson. They ended up landing Tomlinson, who gives them a legit run-stuffer. From there, they added Maurice Hurst and Trsyten Hill who have the talent to play the 3-tech but come with huge question marks.

Chances are, they're insurance signings with the real plan being that Winfrey provides the interior pass rush. They won't put all their eggs in that basket since 2022 was a bit rocky but he will be given every opportunity to earn a key spot in the defensive line rotation.