4. Signing Dalvin Tomlinson
In 2022, the Browns were 25th in the NFL in run defense. They were continually gashed up the middle and opposing teams managed 2,295 yards and 22 touchdowns. More concerning was the average yards per attempt, which was 4.7 for the year.
That's why Andrew Berry went out and targeted defensive tackles this offseason. He overhauled the unit with Maurice Hurst, Jr., Shelby Harris, and rookie Siaki Ika being brought in. Hurst, who is also on the IR (notice the trend) was excellent before going down. Harris has been good all year but has improved since taking additional snaps following the loss of Hurst.
Ika was known as a massive run-stuffing nose tackle at Baylor but so far, has just 45 snaps on the year. That's a testament to the depth ahead of him, which is getting the job done. This year, they're vastly improved, surrendering 4.1 yards per rush and are 10th in the league heading into Week 17.
All the players mentioned above have done their part but no one has been more impactful than Dalvin Tomlinson. Nicknamed 'Big Thanos', Tomlinson has 28 tackles and three sacks but it's the attention he commands that's been a huge lift for this defense.
Listed at 6-3 and 325 pounds, Tomlinson draws double-teams which has freed up the players around him immensely. The largest benefactor has been Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah who is playing at an elite level right now. With Tomlinson chewing up the blocks, he's been free to use his athleticism and it's led to one big play afetr another.