Since taking over as the Cleveland Browns general manager in 2020, Andrew Berry has done an excellent job of filling out the team’s roster. His diligence in ensuring every position has competition resulted in an 11-6 campaign despite one injury after another.
Of course, the big moves he makes get all the attention — like finding out Joe Flacco can still sling it. But oftentimes, it’s the unnoticed moves that make the difference. Adding Maurice Hurst, Shelby Harris, or even Ethan Pocic in recent years hardly made any waves but all have been excellent signings. With that being the case, here’s an early look at five under-the-radar free agents Berry could consider to fill out the 53-man roster this year.
5. Javon Kinlaw, Defensive Tackle
Ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers traded DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a first-round pick. They then used the 14th overall selection on Javon Kinlaw, a promising defensive tackle from South Carolina.
Kinlaw was expected to step in for Buckner but after four seasons, he has yet to become a full-time starter. He is, however, coming off his best statistical season with 25 tackles and 3.5 sacks. For his career, he now has 70 tackles and 5.0 sacks.
It’s a far cry from what was expected out of him and there’s almost no scenario where it makes sense for the 49ers to keep him. Instead, he will likely test the open market and could be a candidate for a one-year deal in Cleveland. A fresh start could be exactly what he needs and coming over without the expectations of being a team’s top pick could help him settle into a pass-rushing role off the bench.