Andrew Berry went into this offseason with a clear goal for the Cleveland Browns roster, fix the defense. With the focus on the defensive line.
Sure, there were some other questions at safety, linebacker, running back, etc., but we all know what the biggest letdown of last year was. The defensive line overall was atrocious, and the defensive tackle position was the main culprit. Berry got the message as he went to work revamping the unit.
The Browns didn't have a single player besides Myles Garrett that was even close to getting in the double-digit sack range. We won't talk about the run defense last year. We all saw it.
Jadaveon Clowney showed how much he cared when interviewed late in the year. The communication and fire on that side of the ball were terrible at best.
Everything that could go wrong seemed to do just that. Even the injuries began to pile up as the year went on. Cleveland lost nearly the entire linebacking corps, yet the lack of defensive line play outshined even that. It had a trickle-down effect on the defense as we saw the linebackers we had left out of position, desperate to make a play.
Linebackers need big bodies to keep them clean, no matter how big the linebacker is. You can have all the talent in the world at the position, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, but constantly fighting through bigger bodies every play will limit the overall impact made. That is why the first move by Berry this past offseason was the most important one.
Dalvin Tomlinson right man in the middle for the Browns
That's right, dawg pound, we finally have a big guy in the middle that can take up bodies and make plays. Thank you, Andrew Berry, for Dalvin Tomlinson, even if it is because of past mistakes. Here is what PFF (subscription required) had to say about Tomlison at the start of free agency.
"Dalvin Tomlinson has been stout against the run throughout his NFL career, and he’s picked up his production as a pass-rusher over the past few seasons, finishing 2022 with a career-best 79.1 pass-rushing grade that ranked eighth among interior defenders. Tomlinson is one of 10 interior defenders to record at least 60 defensive stops against the run over the last three seasons while also recording a pass-rush win rate of at least 10% in each season."- By William Moy Mar 10, 2023
It's hard to argue with the numbers. The focus in bringing Tomlinson to Cleveland is to bolster the atrocious run defense from a year ago, but Andrew Berry loves guys that can cause issues for quarterbacks.
Tomlinson, over the last three seasons, has shown he can do that at a high level. He may not have been the first guy on the fan's wishlist, but he might end up being just what the doctor ordered.