Early look at 3 Browns with the most on the line during training camp
By Randy Gurzi
1. Browns DE, Alex Wright
While each of the first two players could find themselves either off the roster or out of a starting job, this final player is in a different spot. Alex Wright, a third round pick from 2022, wasn't ever going to be a starter in 2023. The UAB product has a ton of talent and looks as though he was built in a lab that produces NFL defensive ends (6-foot-7 and 270 pounds). Having said all of that, he's still very raw.
As a rookie, he was thrust into action too early but responded well with 28 tackles — but he never recorded a sack. Heading into 2023, he's now further down the depth chart with the addition of Za'Darius Smith and Ogbo Okoronkwo.
But even with Okoronkwo set to be the primary pass-rusher off the bench behind Smith and Myles Garrett, the competition doesn't end there for Wright.
Cleveland also added Isaiah McGuire in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft and while he came in one round later than Wright did the prior year, he's arguably a more refined player. McGuire played collegiately in the SEC for Missouri and recorded 14.5 sacks over the past two seasons. He's also well-built at 6-foot-4 and 268 pounds.
Wright will have the upper hand since he's been in the NFL already but as was the case with Jordan Elliott, there's a new defensive coordinator who will have all players on an even field.
Whichever player can produce the most in their limited snaps is going to be the one who dresses as the fourth defensive end, and that battle begins in July.