Projecting winners in each AFC division

Will the Browns win the North?

By: Jeremy Trottier

The NFL Preseason is nearing its final week of play, and then we have a week off before the NFL season starts.  This time of year is always particularly interesting, as many people are attempting to predict the division winners of each conference, and trying to make predictions as to which teams will make deep playoff runs, and which will fizzle out.  With that said, in this article, I will be predicting the winner of each AFC division, as well as why I believe this is the case.

AFC North – Cleveland Browns

Starting off in the north, we have the Cleveland Browns, who made it the furthest of any team from this division in the playoffs last year and have been able to improve their team significantly since then.  Additions like Troy Hill, Jadeveon Clowney, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, and Greg Newsome will really take this team and move it up the ranks. 

The return of Odell Beckham Jr. as well as last year’s second-round pick Grant Delpit making his debut should improve the team even further than last year significantly.  If the backfield duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt can continue the tear they were going on last season, this team could be near unstoppable in the regular season.

AFC East – Buffalo Bills

As much as I have liked the New England Patriots off-season moves, I still think they are not yet there in terms of being division winners again.  Buffalo filled their one biggest need in the offseason, that being edge rushing, with one of the best DEs in the class in Gregory Rousseau, as well as picking up Carlos “Boogie” Basham Jr. in the second round of the draft.  The offense was not the issue with this team, it was extremely explosive last year.

The defense on the other hand was somewhat tamed compared to years past, these two additions should hugely impact their success along the defensive line and should allow them to make critical stops where they could not last season.

AFC South – Tennessee Titans

This one is all but solidified after the injuries sustained to Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson of the Indianapolis Colts, which may leave them out for the early half of the season.  The Jaguars improved, for sure, but not to a point where they are considered for contention, and the Houston Texans are basically fighting for last in the league more than likely.  The Titans on the other hand added one of the most star-studded receivers in the league, Julio Jones.

The 1-2 punch of Julio Jones and A.J. Brown is one that should be feared immensely.  The additions of Caleb Farley and Monty Rice should help them out significantly on the defensive side, and Dillon Radunz should be able to protect Ryan Tannehill long enough to get the ball out.

AFC West – Kansas City Chiefs

This division could be getting closer than in years past with the Chargers and Justin Herbert seemingly on the horizon as the next big team.  With that said, that time is not yet here.  Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce still remain the focal points of this offense, and the return of Clyde Edwards-Helaire will help them get some productivity in the run game.  

In terms of additions, the Chiefs brought in OT Orlando Brown Jr., who should help protect Mahomes from the outside and help out in the run protection as well.  To lock up the interior they got C Creed Humphrey, one of my personal favorite IOLs entering this draft class.  Overall, the rich have gotten richer, and should be poised for another playoff run.

Buying or selling Super Bowl LVI contenders

Are the LA Rams really Super Bowl contenders?

By: Chris Thomas

From the minute the Super Bowl ends speculation begins about who could make the Super Bowl the following year. The odds change throughout the offseason as hirings, signings, and the draft happens. At this point of the offseason, the Super Bowl odds seem pretty firm, barring anything crazy. 

Recently Sportsline came up with their Super Bowl odds for the 2022 NFL Season. According to CBS Sports, they simulate every NFL game 10,000 times to figure out their odds for who will win the Super Bowl. CBS Sports also reported that those who have bet $100 on their model since its inception six years ago are now up almost $7,900.

Even though there are so many talented teams around the league only two teams can make the Super Bowl and only one team can win it. There are a lot of loaded rosters across the league, but only a hand few could be considered Super Bowl contenders. Sportsline has set the odds for every team’s chance of winning the Super Bowl next season. Here is whether to buy or sell Sportsline top-10 Super Bowl contenders as teams who could win the Super Bowl. 

1. Kansas City Chiefs (+525)

Despite losing the Super Bowl last year, many believe the Kansas City Chiefs do have the best odds of winning the Super Bowl next year. It’s pretty hard to argue against it. Kansas City did not have many major losses across their roster this offseason. The Chiefs invested a lot of capital into their biggest weakness displayed during the Super Bowl which was their offensive line. They added veterans like Orlando Brown Jr. (via trade), Joe Thuney, Kyle Long, and Austin Blythe. Then drafted high upside interior offensive linemen Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith. Also, veteran guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff and 2020 third-round pick tackle Lucas Niang are returning to the team after opting out last season due to Covid-19. That unit is deep enough to ensure that former MVP Patrick Mahomes plays behind a top-10 offensive line all year. 

Kansas City does not have any major holes across its roster. They have done a great job retaining veterans and filling voids on their roster with high draft picks over the last couple of seasons. The combination of having an MVP caliber quarterback, consistency in the roster, and fantastic coaching is what makes the Chiefs a potential Super Bowl contender this season.

Verdict: Buying

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+650)

It would be shocking to not have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers high on this list. The reigning Super Bowl champs did the impossible this past offseason and managed to retain every single player that started during the Super Bowl for them. Tampa Bay somehow managed to retain Shaquil Barrett, Chris Godwin, Ndamukong Suh, Leonard Fournette, and Rob Gronkowski in free agency. They also retained veterans Steve McLendon, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Succop, and signed veteran running back Giovanni Bernard to join their running back committee. During the draft, Tampa Bay took the best player available and Jason Pierre-Pauls potential replacement next offseason Joe Tryon. Adding a prospect like Tryon to a defense that was capable of holding Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to nine points during the Super Bowl was a great move. 

After last season it seems that anytime Tom Brady is a team’s starting quarterback they have a chance of winning the Super Bowl. Another season of Brady in that system with the outstanding weapons he has including Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, (A healthy) O.J. Howard, a plethora of great running backs, and outstanding defensive play could result in the Buccaneers winning back-to-back Super Bowls. 

Verdict: Buying

3. Buffalo Bills (+1300)

After the two teams who played in the Super Bowl last year, there is a cluster of teams that could prevent one of them from getting to the big game. Sportsline has the Buffalo Bills as the team most likely to take down the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC and win the Super Bowl. At times last season the Bills looked like the best team in football. Quarterback Josh Allen took a massive leap and asserted himself as a top-10 quarterback and finished the season as the runner-up to the MVP. Last year they also added Stefon Diggs who was arguably the best receiver in all of football. Diggs led the league in receptions and receiving yards last year. On top of that, the Bills have an extremely solid roster with a couple of former Pro Bowl defensive players including Tre’Davious White and Tremaine Edmonds. They let go of John Brown who missed most of last season and replaced him with Emmanuel Sanders. 

The Bills are a really good team, but it is important to ask, how much better did the Bills get this offseason. Buffalo retained a lot of their starters from the year prior and brought in Sanders, but they did not bring any fresh blood who can make a major impact on this roster. During the draft, the Bills spent their first two selections on defensive linemen Gregory Rousseau and Carlos “Boogie” Basham. Both help fill the need Buffalo has for a premier pass rusher. But with all the veteran depth on this roster both in the interior and on the edge, how often are they going to be seeing the field next season? The answer is not extremely likely unless they show immediately that they are better than veterans Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, Efe Obada, and 2020 second-round pick A.J. Epenesa. The sad truth is that Buffalo didn’t add enough to their roster to potentially become the sole favorite in the AFC and defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Verdict: Selling

T4. Baltimore Ravens (+1400)

Since Lamar Jackson became the starting quarterback of the Ravens during the 2018-19 NFL season the Ravens have been one of the most dominant teams in the league. The Ravens are expected to continue that this season and may go farther this year than they have in Jackson’s previous three seasons. A couple of veteran players left Baltimore in free agency this offseason including Mark Ingram, Willie Snead IV, Matt Skura, D.J. Fluker, Matthew Judon, and Yannick Ngakoue. But the Ravens did a great job reloading their roster with more veteran and young talent this offseason to replace those players. In free agency, Baltimore added Kevin Zeitler, Alejandro Villanueva, Sammy Watkins, Ja’Wuan James (expected to miss the entire 2021-22 season), and Justin Houston. In the draft, Baltimore added both wide receiver Rashod Bateman and Odafe “Jayson” Oweh in the first round after they acquired a second first-round pick in the Orlando Brown Jr. trade.

It is hard to argue against Baltimore having one of the deepest rosters in the league, even after the roster turnover. The biggest factors for how Baltimore will perform this year will be the Ravens passing game and pass rush. The Ravens have gotten below-average play from their wide receivers in recent years, Baltimore hopes the additions of Rashod Bateman and Sammy Watkins could boost the team’s production from that position. The pass rush may have been a concern, but after adding Odafe Owey and Justin Houston to this loaded defense the Ravens should be able to generate enough pressure from the outside to play at a high level. Since Lamar Jackson’s contract is looming over the Ravens’ future this may be Baltimore’s best opportunity to win a Super Bowl with Jackson under center on a rookie contract. 

Verdict: Buying

T4. Los Angeles Rams (+1400)

The Los Angeles Rams started the offseason making a huge trade to upgrade their quarterback position. Before the Super Bowl, the Rams agreed to trade Jared Goff, their 2022 first-round pick, and 2023 first-round pick to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford. This trade signals that the Rams believe they are a quarterback upgrade away from being a Super Bowl contender. A lot of notable players left the team in free agency including Josh Reynolds, Samson Ebukam, Gerald Everett, Malcolm Brown, Austin Blythe, John Johnson III, and Troy Hill. Not to mention they traded away Michael Brockers to free up salary space. The biggest addition the Rams made to this roster is DeSean Jackson who joins a deep receiving core including Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Van Jefferson. The Rams didn’t have a first-round pick due to the Jalen Ramsey trade. They did not add any players who are expected to have an immediate impact, instead, they could likely develop into contributors in year two or three with the team. 

The Rams have a few players on the roster that are considered elite at their position including Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. Then they have a couple of players who are great including Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Leonard Floyd, Matthew Stafford, and Andrew Whitworth. But after those guys, the Rams are relying on a bunch of unproven players who at best couple be solid. This roster is extremely delicate. One injury to a Rams star and they could miss the playoffs. Already the Rams have lost 2020 second-round pick running back Cam Akers to a torn Achilles before training camp. Everything for the Rams would have to go perfectly for them to have a shot at the Super Bowl with their current roster construction.

Verdict: Selling

T4. San Fransisco 49ers (+1400)

It is easily forgotten that the San Fransisco 49ers were in the Super Bowl two years ago. After a season derailed by multiple injuries, the 49ers made the most discussed transaction of the offseason. The 49ers traded two future first-round picks to acquire the third overall pick in this past draft. They used that selection of quarterback Trey Lance. The 49ers lost Richard Sherman and few depth pieces but overall had a positive offseason adding solid pieces in Alex Mack, Samson Ebukam, Maurice Hurst, Arden Key, and Wayne Gallman. Their best signing may be the extending left tackle Trent Williams to a six-year $138 million deal. 

Looking at their roster it is clear that the 49ers can be one of the league’s best if they stay healthy. On offense, they have an elite running game and three outstanding pass catchers in George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and second-year receiver Brandon Aiyuk. Behind their offensive line, it may not matter if Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance is under center. Then the 49ers’ defense still can be as elite as it was two years ago with all their premier talent. If the 49ers could stay healthy and make it out of the NFC West they are as dangerous as any team in the NFL. 

Verdict: Buying

7. Green Bay Packers(+1600)

Since the NFL Draft, the most talked about team in the league has been the Green Bay Packers. The reasoning is that it became public knowledge that league MVP Aaron Rodgers wants to be traded from the team. He felt he has been mistreated by management and would rather go to a situation where he feels he will be treated as he should. Besides that, the Packers have had an okay offseason. Green Bay lost All-Pro center Corey Linsley and running back Jamaal Williams in free agency. They brought in free agents De’Vondre Campbell and Dennis Kelly to fill voids on their roster. Green Bay also retained cornerback Kevin King on a one-year deal and Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones to a four-year $48 million deal. During the first round of the draft, they added Eric Stokes to upgrade their CB2 spot that was exposed during the NFC Championship.

In all honesty, the Packers have an extremely loaded roster. But their biggest problem this season may be what happens in the locker room. After negotiating with Packers brass Aaron Rodgers agreed to come to training camp under the condition that the Packers trade him following this season. Since he has returned he has been extremely passive-aggressive about all that has happened and seems to have the Packers organization doing his bidding. That bidding included traded for veteran receiver and former Packer Randall Cobb who will now likely start over third-round pick rookie Amari Rodgers in the slot. On top of that All-Pro receiver Davante Adams has now expressed that he may leave the Packers this offseason, especially if Aaron Rodgers isn’t there. Both Rodgers and Adams are under the impression that this is the “last dance” and this is their last shot to win it all before they both split from Green Bay this offseason. It is hard to recall a time where a team with this much dysfunction in the locker room won a Super Bowl. 

Verdict: Selling

8. Cleveland Browns (+1800)

After their outstanding performance, last season the Cleveland Browns are being recognized as a potential Super Bowl contender last season. Cleveland had a fantastic offseason as well. The Browns signed John Johnson III, Troy Hill, Jadeveon Clowney, Takk McKinley, Malik Jackson, Anthony Walker Jr., and resigned Rashad Higgins. They also had a great draft taking two first-round talents in cornerback Greg Newsome II and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the first two rounds. 

It is hard to find a major hole across this roster. The biggest factor for the Browns this season is the play of Baker Mayfield. So far throughout his career, he has played well but is considered an average NFL quarterback. In year two playing for Kevin Stefanski, Mayfield hopes to make that leap. A healthy Odell Beckham Jr. should help Mayfield realize his potential as long as he doesn’t feel pressure to force plays to Beckham as he has in the past. What may hold this team back at the end of the day is the team’s inexperience in huge games. Last year the Browns managed to pick up a playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and came close to beating the Kansas City Chiefs. But it is hard to call the Browns a contender without evidence that they can defeat the teams at the top of the AFC let alone the entire league. 

Verdict: Selling

9. Denver Broncos (+2000)

The most shocking team to appear on this list is the Denver Broncos. According to Sportsline, the team that went 5-11 a season ago has the ninth-best odds of winning the Super Bowl. That sounds crazy but after acknowledging all of the Broncos offseason moves it doesn’t seem entirely impossible. They let go of a few veterans including Phillip Lindsay, Jurrell Casey, A.J. Bouye, and Ja’Wuan James. But Denver added to Pro Bowl-caliber cornerbacks in Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby to go with their star-studded secondary that features Bryce Callahan, Justin Simmons, and Kareem Jackson. Simmons and Jackson received extensions from the Broncos this offseason as well as Garrett Bolles and Shelby Harris. During the draft, Denver elected not to draft a quarterback and took cornerback Patrick Surtain II in the first round. 

The most impactful move the Broncos made this offseason can be the acquisition of former Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He is engaged in a quarterback competition with Drew Lock. That uncertainty at quarterback is what holds Denver out of conversations as legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Denver has a very exciting young offense and premier defensive talent. But their below-average quarterback play likely caps their ceiling at around .500. If Drew Lock wins the quarterback job and breaks out then the Broncos may have a chance of making the playoffs. The only way Denver becomes Super Bowl contenders is if Lock plays at least at a Pro Bowl level or possibly an MVP level.

Verdict: Selling

T10. Indianapolis Colts (+3000)

So far the Indianapolis Colts have not had an outstanding training camp. Freak foot injuries to their new franchise quarterback Carson Wentz and All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson have tempered the expectations for the team. However, both may be able to return from their injuries around Week 1. Earlier the Colts made the trade to acquire Wentz from the Eagles to replace the recently retired Philip Rivers. They gave up a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick for Wentz. That conditional second-round pick would become a first-round pick if Wentz plays 75% of the snaps or if he plays 70% of the snaps and the Colts made the playoffs. This offseason Colts lost both of their starting edge rushers Denico Autry and Justin Houston, veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett, linebacker Anthony Walker Jr., and former first-round pick Malik Hooker. But they managed to retain Xavier Rhodes, T.Y. Hilton, and Marlon Mack. The Colts also signed former Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher. During the draft, the Colts took pass rusher Kwity Paye towards the end of the first round. 

The Indianapolis Colts have a nice blend of younger players and veterans throughout their roster. But they feel like they’re missing another x-factor player to make them legitimate contenders. That player could be Carson Wentz if he returns to his form during the 2017-18 season. Besides Jonathan Taylor behind the Colts’ elite offensive line, there are a lot of questions about their offense. What Carson Wentz will the Colts get, Is T.Y. Hilton still a threat on offense, and can Michael Pittman Jr. emerge as the Colts’ number one receiver. Defensively the Colts have enough to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders. It all comes down to the offense that would need to take a big leap forward for this team to become a Super Bowl contender. 

Verdict: Selling

T10. New Orleans Saints (+3000)

As it stands right now it appears the New Orleans Saints missed their Super Bowl window over the last four seasons. But they still have an extremely talented roster. The Saints lost some of their major contributors from a season ago including Emmanuel Sanders, Trey Hendrickson, Sheldon Rankins, Janoris Jenkins, and Jared Cook. They also brought in a couple of solid veterans in Nick Vannett, Tanoh Kpassagnon, J.R. Sweezy, Jeff Heath, and Brian Poole. Their first-round pick this past year was a puzzling one. They reached on edge rusher Payton Turner who many had a Day 2 grade on. 

The biggest storyline in New Orleans has been what the Saints do at quarterback in the post-Drew Brees era. New Orleans retained both Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill who are both expected to compete for the starting quarterback job. It doesn’t help that their number one receiver Michael Thomas is expected to miss a huge amount of time due to a lingering ankle injury. The Saints are not very deep at receiver after Thomas. New Orleans still has a lot of talent across this roster but will need trustworthy play at quarterback to make the playoffs next season let alone win the Super Bowl. 

Verdict: Selling

Expect the Lions, Eagles, and Texans to have the worst records in 2021

The worst NFL teams in 2021 will be…

By: Andy Davies

Plenty of uncertainty surrounds the Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, and Houston Texans going into the 2021 season. Their quarterback situations are far from clear and their overall rosters are mediocre at best.

The same goes for their head coaches, with all three going into their first seasons at the franchise. Neither of Dan Campbell, Nick Sirianni, or David Culley has been a full-time head coach in the NFL. Campbell is the only one to have some experience, with his spell as interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2015.

Here is why you should be expecting the Lions, Eagles, and Texans to have the three worst records in the league in 2021.

Saying Goodbye To A Franchise Legend In Detroit. Struggles For The Replacement

Matthew Stafford was the number one overall pick in 2009, with the entire city of Detroit hoping he would be the man to turn around the fortunes of the franchise. Despite three seasons of making the playoffs, the Lions and Stafford never won a single postseason game as the wait continues. The Lions remain the team with the second-longest period without a playoff win, their last taking place on January 5th, 1992.

Stafford had some great individual moments as a Lion, most notably his Mic’d up moment during his 2009 rookie season. In a week eleven game against the Cleveland Browns, he overcame injury to produce a moment of pure heroism. He played with a separated shoulder despite the efforts of the medical staff to keep him off the field, leading the Lions to a touchdown-winning drive.

Jim Caldwell guided the Lions to these playoff appearances but was not seen as good enough to take them to the next step. New England Patriots assistant head coach Matt Patricia was brought in but never took to life as head coach. The Lions had three consecutive losing seasons under the coaching of Patricia. They will hope that they have found their guy in Dan Campbell. His press conference was certainly not dull, with Campbell referring to “biting kneecaps”. As a former Lions player, he knows what it takes to play in the league. He also knows about the city of Detroit and his intentions are both positive and clear. If he is given time, he has the desire to bring the good times back to Detroit. However, he is inexperienced as a head coach and the roster is below average.

New quarterback Jared Goff has the potential to struggle. This is despite the drafting of offensive lineman Penei Sewell at seventh overall, a selection that had Campbell and new General Manager Brad Holmes very excited.

Despite his brilliant 2018 season that saw the Rams reach Super Bowl 53, Goff had a poor game and struggled in 2020 as he and head coach Sean McVay’s relationship deteriorated.

Goff struggled despite a plethora of offensive talent around him. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp form one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL. He is going to a franchise that let go of their two best wide receivers and failed to replace them.

The Lions have a schedule that features the San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, and Cleveland Browns. There are also two games against their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, and Chicago Bears. The Lions do not have it easy.

Prediction: 3-14

Trouble In Philadelphia; Reason For Hope?

The Eagles have seen three years of gradual decline after winning Super Bowl 52. The 2017 season saw the Eagles lift the Lombardi Trophy for the first time after two previous attempts.

Doug Pederson was the head coach to guide the Eagles to a Super Bowl but was fired after the conclusion of the 2020 season. His decision to bench rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts in order to lose and gain a higher draft pick appeared to be the final nail in the coffin.

Carson Wentz had an MVP caliber season before an injury derailed hopes of winning the award. Backup Nick Foles stepped in and guided the Eagles to the Super Bowl 52 win. He also stepped in a year later and guided the Eagles to a shock Wildcard Round win against the Chicago Bears, with thanks also going to a Cody Parkey missed field goal.

Both Foles and Wentz are no longer Eagles players. Out of the starters in that Super Bowl 52 win, only seven remain with the franchise. Their decision to draft Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson continues to be mocked by rival fans and nobody knows how new head coach Nick Sirianni will do in the role.

The schedule is mixed for Philadelphia. Whilst they face the New York Jets, Lions, and twice play the New York Giants, they also have to face the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.. This is as well as facing a rising Washington Football Team twice as well as playing the Dallas Cowboys both home and away.

Reports have surfaced in recent days of the Philadelphia Eagles being the favourites for Deshaun, with talks said to be “heating up”.

This could be a move that transforms the franchise. However, Deshaun Watson had his best statistical season yet the Texans only managed four wins all year. This proves that whilst it is very important to have a good quarterback, you need more around to be successful.

Unless the Eagles do something in what remains of the offseason, they will continue to be mediocre if their roster continues to be this poor. If they get offensive or defensive talent in the next one or two offseasons, then they are a team that will compete for years to come. Otherwise, the Eagles will fail to be a threat to both the NFC and NFC East.

This is why Deshaun should avoid the Eagles at this present time. He will be going into a situation no different to what he experienced in Houston.

Prediction: 4-13

What A Difference A Year Makes

Where do we start with the Houston Texans? The 2019 season saw them take a 24-0 lead against the Chiefs in the Divisional Round. However, they allowed 41 unanswered points as they lost 51-31. What has unfolded since in the following nineteen months has been reminiscent of a Greek tragedy.

Head coach Bill O’Brien, who also was general manager, made the unusual decision to trade star wide receiver, Deandre Hopkins. In exchange, the Texans received a running back past his sell-by date in David Johnson, one second-rounder and one fourth-round pick. O’Brien only lasted four games in the 2020 season as they finished the campaign with just four wins.

Since the conclusion of the 2020 season, franchise legend J.J Watt has left and there continues to be an uncertain future surrounding quarterback Deshaun Watson. Houston’s quarterback requested a trade in January before allegations of sexual assault arose. These have lingered throughout the remainder of the offseason. It is unclear if Watson will play in the NFL at all in 2021 but even if he does, it is unlikely that he will be wearing a Texans jersey.

Houston has said they would listen to trade offers for Watson, with the franchise said to be wanting three first-round picks. They have also acquired Tyrod Taylor via Free Agency and used their first pick in the draft on Davis Mills in the third round. Even if the Eagles stick with Hurts, there will be plenty of other suitors.

Even with Watson, the Texans are light on the ground when it comes to elite talent. Linebacker Zach Cunningham and Laremy Tunsil are talents and despite adding Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram to the running back room, the roster is one of the league’s worst.

David Culley has developed somewhat of a worrying reputation after his time with the Eagles, Chiefs, and Baltimore Ravens. During his fourteen-season spell with the Eagles, his four seasons with the Chiefs, and two years with the Ravens, he had 0 wide receivers earn a PFF grade of 80 or above.

The Chiefs wideouts went an entire season without a touchdown under Culley. With a wide receiver room featuring Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins and Anthony Miller, this is not exactly a position of strength for the Texans. Culley is unlikely to see any of these receivers score high PFF grades.

Whilst the Texans might be playing the Jacksonville Jaguars twice and the Jets, they have a tough schedule. They will face the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks. Houston will also play the Los Angeles Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers as well as the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans twice.

They are unlikely to win many of these games. Fans should be expecting a difficult season.

Prediction: 2-15

Two Position Battles to Watch In Cleveland’s Training Camp

Browns 2021 training camp showcases a new look pass rush

By: Michael Welsh

With each day that passes, we are getting closer and closer to football season. Before we get to the pre-season, training camp has to happen. There are always intriguing position battles to watch for each team, and with the Browns, there are a few in particular that should be on the front of fan’s minds.

Cleveland has one of, if not the most complete roster in all of football. This means tough decisions will have to be made on who makes the team and who ends up being the week one starters. The offensive side of the ball is basically set as is, so most of these interesting battles will be taking place on the defensive side. Let’s take a look at the two position battles to keep an eye on during training camp

The defensive line as a whole

The toughest decisions for the coaching staff will be on the defensive line. The edges are set with superstar Myles Garrett and the well-known Jadeveon Clowney, with free agent acquisition Takk Mckinley on rotation. Where it gets interesting is the interior defensive line. Below are the players on the interior fighting for a roster spot and a starting job:

Malik Jackson (free agent signing)

Sheldon Day (2021 signing from practice squad)

Jordan Elliot (Browns draft pick, 2020)

Malik McDowell (2021 free agent signing)

Damion Square (2021 free agent signing)

Tommy Togiai (Browns draft pick, 2021)

Marvin Wilson (2021 undrafted free agent signing)

That is a massive amount of talent fighting for a few roster spots. General Manager Andrew Berry is very high on Jordan Elliot, who showed flashes in his 2020 rookie year. Malik Jackson will most likely take Sheldon Richardson’s spot, so if all goes well he will be first on the depth chart. Tommy Togiai was drafted this year, so one would think he has a spot solidified. Malik McDowell is interesting as well, but he doesn’t have much experience. Perhaps the one to watch the most is undrafted free agent Marvin Wilson. At one point, he was one of the best defensive tackles in college football. His talent is undeniable, but he got caught up with some on and off the field issues at Florida State. If he puts it all together, he could be a massive steal that makes the roster.

Overall, the coaching staff will likely keep three or four of them on the roster, so it will be exciting to see what happens. A scenario of Jackson, Elliot, and Togiai making the roster with Square and Marvin Wilson on the practice squad is fairly likely. But we will know soon enough.

The Cornerbacks

Besides Pro Bowler Denzel Ward, the cornerback room has a long way until the other starter is decided. Rookie first round pick Greg Newsome has a substantial amount of hype and has looked good so far in minicamps, but he is still a rookie after all. Greedy Williams hasn’t played football in awhile, but he had plenty of flashes in 2019 of being a good player in this league. It is going to be fascinating to see who ends up winning the starting job between Newsome and Williams. They’re both incredibly talented and liked by the front office quite a bit. They will both definitely make the team, but who starts opposite of Denzel Ward likely won’t be decided until the end of training camp, possibly even the end of pre-season. Odds are it will be Newsome since he is this current front office’s guy, but don’t sleep on Williams. He has something to prove. Troy Hill is probably the only other player within the cornerbacks that has a starting spot secured. He will be the Nickel corner and can possibly jump outside as well if needed.

Turning to the depth side of the roster, the battle between Robert Jackson and AJ Green should be intense. Green was an undrafted free agent signing in 2020, and was giving a generous rookie contract. There were whispers that he looked good on the practice squad in 2020, but he needed more development. Seeing how far he has come since then during training camp will be fun to watch. Robert Jackson stepped in as a starter in 2020 due to injuries, and his play was fairly rocky. But he is good on special teams and can snag a roster spot if he continues to excel there. Will Green be able to show special teams skills and get Jackson’s spot instead? Or will they both make the roster? Time will tell, but get your popcorn ready because it will be electric.

The Most Improved Area of Cleveland’s Defense: Secondary

Denzel Ward will improve the Browns secondary

By: Michael Welsh

The Browns finished the 2020 season with the 21st ranked defense, giving up a total of 5,735 yards. Clearly there were many areas to improve in, and in the 2021 off-season, Andrew Berry did just that with the draft and free agency. Outside of Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward, and Ronnie Harrison, there was a lot left to be desired on that side of the ball last year.

You could say every area of the defense has improved dramatically and they are poised to potentially be a top 5 unit in the NFL. The defensive line should be much better with the additions of Jadeveon Clowney, Takk Mckinley, and Malik Jackson. Taking a look at the linebackers, there are still some questions but with Anthony Walker and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, they should be faster and far more dynamic.

All of those additions are great, but the area that improved the most overall is the secondary. In 2020, it was tough to see games where the offense would get a big lead, but then slowly let teams back in games as Andrew Sendejo blew yet another coverage. It wasn’t just Sendejo, though. Outside of Denzel Ward, who missed 4 games, the entire secondary was often dreadful and hard to watch. Andrew Berry knew this and aggressively attacked that weakness in the 2021 offseason. Let’s take a look at the new additions and how they can make a substantial impact this fall, along with returning players and how they fit into the defensive back room.

John Johnson III – Safety – 2020 team, Los Angelas Rams

Perhaps the best overall signing of free agency, the Browns picked up John Johnson for a 3 year deal worth $33 million. Johnson reportedly turned down more money to come to Cleveland, calling it an “opportunity of a lifetime.” That is music to Browns fans ears, and it will only get better when he steps on the field. Johnson played on the number one ranked defense in all of football last year, finishing with an 85.6 Pro Football Focus grade. The former third round pick also had the green dot on his helmet and called defensive plays, which makes him even more valuable if Joe Woods wants to go that route. He has potential to be the ball-hawking safety Cleveland has been looking for since returning to the league in 1999.

Troy Hill – Cornerback – 2020 team, Los Angelas Rams

Following in Johnson’s footsteps, Troy Hill signed with the Browns shortly after his deal was made official. Hill is going to be a huge addition as a nickel corner that is versatile and has a nose for the football. Hill scored two defensive touchdowns and had three interceptions in 2020, finishing with a 74.2 Pro Football Focus grade. Having arguably the best nickel corner in the NFL is a huge step up from Kevin Johnson and Terrance Mitchell who often played the position the last few years. Expect Hill to make an immediate impact.

Greg Newsome – Cornerback – 2020 team, Northwestern (college)

Andrew Berry was all smiles when pick 26 came around in the 2021 NFL Draft and Greg Newsome was still on the board. He has all the makings of an All-Pro cornerback in the NFL. Throughout college, Newsome thrived at Northwestern. He allowed a 31.7 passer rating in 2020, including a 0.0 rating on 3rd and 4th downs. Adding to that, Newsome allowed only 1 touchdown on 471 coverage snaps. He is the definition of a shutdown corner, and although he has much to learn at the next level, there is a good chance he makes the Pro Bowl his rookie year like fellow teammate Denzel Ward in 2018.

Denzel Ward – Cornerback – 2020 team, Cleveland Browns

Speaking of Denzel Ward, he’s one of the returning players to Cleveland’s defense in 2021, and he actually has a fair amount of pressure on him. Ward has played great in his young career, but has yet to play a full season. In 2021, we need to see him play every game and earn a contract extension from the front office. Either way, when he is on the field, he plays like a top 10 corner in the NFL. He finished with two interceptions and a 72.8 Pro Football Focus grade in 2020. Hopefully he can put it all together in 2021. Oh, and give us more slide tackles.

Ronnie Harrison – Safety – 2020 team, Jacksonville Jaguars/Cleveland Browns

Needing safety help last year after some injuries, Andrew Berry traded a third round pick for Ronnie Harrison. There had been flashes of him being a good safety in Jacksonville, and when he came to Cleveland, there was an immediate impact. Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods wants to run a lot of Dime packages with three safeties on the field, so Harrison should have a significant role on the defense. He finished with a 74.7 Pro Football Focus grade and a pick-six interception. If he stays healthy.

Grant Delpit – Safety – 2020 team, Cleveland Browns

It was devastating last year in training camp when Grant Delpit went down with a torn achilles. The hype around him was real and fans were dying to see him in action. Joe Woods had plans to use him in various ways, but had to change up his defense completely due to his injury. Delpit was a force in college, finishing with 8 interceptions and 120 tackles. His rehab is going very well and should be good to go for game one of the 2021 season.

Greedy Williams – Cornerback – 2020 team, Cleveland Browns

It is easy to forget about Greedy Williams since he missed all of 2020 due to nerve damage. At one point, Greedy’s career was in jeopardy. But after all that uncertainty, Greedy appears to be good to go for the 2021 season. It will be very interesting to see if he can win the starting job over Greg Newsome, but with whatever happens he will have a role in the nickel or rotating on the outside. In 2019, Greedy showed flashes and finished with a mediocre 54.6 Pro Football Focus grade. This is a big year for Williams to prove he can be a starter.

3 reasons why Denzel Ward is ready to be the best

The Browns CB is ready to take the next step

When the Cleveland Browns drafted Denzel Ward fourth overall, they anticipated that they would get a generational talent at cornerback. Needless to say, the Browns organization just selected the rare position (CB) in the Top 5 of the draft. 

Ward showed that he was a gifted player in year one of his career, as he earned a Pro Bowl nod. Nonetheless, the CB hasn’t proven to be All-Pro, one of the top players at his position, or the next Deion Sanders

Headed into the 2021 season, there’s plenty of reason to believe Ward will elevate his game to be one of the NFL’s top CBs. Here is why Ward is ready to be a great CB for the Browns and why he will make it easier to forget Joe Haden exiting the building. 

A healthy Ward

In Ward’s short career to this point, he’s missed a whopping 11 career games. Ward has been victim to lingering injuries in each season (groin pulls, concussions). An injury that derailed him early on was a poor tackle attempt that resulted in a concussion. Former Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams controversially alluded to Ward’s tackling style as “stupid”. 

Ward has developed his techniques and learned how to avoid unnecessary hits to the head throughout his career. His legs are also reported to be in the top condition to this point. 

It’s worth noting that CBs are fiery breeds among all position groups. They routinely play through minor injuries. The Browns will undoubtedly be in contention for playoffs and potentially the first seed. Expect Ward to perceive through any less potential injury throughout the later season. 

Potentially the top pass rush in the NFL

The Browns possess a defense featuring a DPOY candidate in Myles Garrett, who is coming off an impressive 12 sack performance in 14 games. At 25 years old, expect Garrett to likely register a career season in 2021. Not only is Garrett firing off the edge of the Browns defense, but a second number one overall pick is ready to harass quarterbacks. 

The Browns brought in Jadeveon Clowney, who is entering the biggest prove it season of his career. Clowney signed a one year – 10 million deal with the Dogpound in the last free agency period. 

Clowney will not only be motivated by being in the same locker room as Garrett, but there will be a vast number of one-on-one opportunities for the player known for laying a vicious hit against Michigan. 

Baker Mayfield has already taken notice of the Browns edge rushing duo. Per Browns Wire, Mayfield famously said “Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney would not be fun to go against”. 

Contract season for Ward 

The former Buckeye that holds a lot of talent is essentially entering the most pivotal season of his career. Ward doesn’t only have his sights set on winning a Super Bowl, but he has a lot of moolah to play for.

Ward is going into his contract season. 

If Ward fails to show his worth to the Browns, it would be a hefty risk to break the bank for himself. If the former Top 5 pick unleashes an elite season of play, he likely will be the highest paid CB in the league. Let’s face it, every player has a bigger chip on their shoulder in a contract year. A contract season often equates to perceiving through minor injury issues, pushing harder to the end of games, and blatantly breathing more fire day in and day out.

Reflection on Paul Brown: the first Cleveland Brown

The timeless impact of Paul Brown on the NFL

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

Paul Brown is an extremely important figure in the history of football. He was a very successful coach, a team founder, and an executive. His innovations helped shape the standards about how to approach the sport. Several of his contributions are still present in the modern game and the NFL would not be what it is today if it weren’t for Brown. He is in the NFL Hall of Fame as well as the Ring of Honor for two different teams. Let’s take a look back at the legendary career of Paul Brown.

Founder and Owner

The Cleveland Browns are actually named after Paul Brown. That is because he was a co-founder of the team, part-owner, and also their first head coach. The Browns joined the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) in 1946 before eventually joining the National Football League (NFL) in 1950. The team was extremely successful in the four-year run in the AAFC, winning the championship all four years.

More than twenty years after helping to found the Browns, he assisted in forming the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968. He coached the team from 1968 to 1975 and then was an executive until he passed away in 1991. His importance to both the Browns and the Bengals will never be forgotten. Deservedly so, he is in the Ring of Honor for both organizations.

Coaching Accomplishments

As a coach, Paul Brown was a winner. He absolutely dominated the AAFL in all four years that he coached the Browns. He won the championship in all four seasons and even went undefeated in the 1948 season. The 1972 Miami Dolphins are still the only other team to ever accomplish an undefeated season. The Browns dominated the AAFL so much so that the league folded after the 1949 season. This is when the Browns joined the NFL to see if they could continue their winning ways.

They did exactly that in their NFL debut when they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, who were actually the defending champions at the time. The Browns would go on to win the NFL Championship in 1950 which was their very first year in the league. They would follow that up with two more championships a few years later in 1954 and 1955. Brown put together an excellent coaching career in the NFL and won more than 66 percent of his games.

Coaching Tree

Five assistants that coached under Brown went on to have a ton of success as head coaches. Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh, Don Shula, Weeb Ewbank, and Blanton Collier combined for a total of 13 championships as head coaches including 10 Super Bowl victories. Walsh and Shula are widely considered two of the greatest coaches of all time and some would even rank them at the very top of that list. The impact of Brown on his assistants is very clear due to their overall combined success.

Innovations

Many of the concepts that Paul Brown came up with were revolutionary at the time and are still used today in the modern NFL. He was the first-ever head coach to hire a full-time staff of assistant coaches. He started the concept of using previous game films to study upcoming opponents as well as using a practice squad. He was also the first coach to test players on the roster about their playbook memorization. He invented the draw play concept and designed the modern face masks for helmets. All of these contributions are still present in the game today. Most importantly, he played a major role in breaking the color barrier in the NFL. His impact will never be forgotten in football history.

Why will the Cleveland Browns WR1 return to form in 2021?

By: Jeremy Trottier

Odell Beckham Jr. has been one of the more intriguing players in the league the last few seasons, for many reasons.  His fiery amped up attitude being one, which is extremely entertaining to watch and makes the Browns “must-watch” football whenever he is on the field.  The other reason being his injury in 2020, which left many people speculating on whether or not he would return to himself in 2021.  

In this article, I will be going over why OBJ will return to form this coming season, as well as what we should be expecting from the (entering) 8th year wideout.

This is Not His First Injury

While this is the most severe injury OBJ has sustained to date, realistically it is not even close to the first as of now.  To date I count fourteen injuries, which fall into the following categories:

  • Hip strains/sprains (two)
  • Hamstring tear/sprains (three)
  • Lumbar spinal bruising/hernia (three)
  • Foot/ankle injuries (three)
  • Other (four) i.e. thumb, quad, etc.

With all these injuries, he has only missed 28 games, compared to the 82 that he has played so far, only 19 of the missed games coming prior to this season.  He has been able to bounce back from all his injuries and still do absolutely amazing things on the field, this should not change that.  He has also had an exceptionally long time to heal as it happened mid-season, so he has the nine weeks he missed last year plus all offseason to rehab.

Torn ACLs normally take roughly six to nine months to rehabilitate fully to where it is functional again for the most part.  OBJ injured his ACL on November first of last year, meaning his rehab should complete between April and July this year.  Both of these are prior to the preseason, and even prior to some training camps, which is fantastic news for Browns fans.

Mentality & Tenacity

As I mentioned previously, OBJ is an extremely hard-nosed player most of the time and really fights for every yard on the field.  His emotions on the field should carry into his physical therapy presumably, as he would work his hardest to get back onto the field.  As where some players may take it slow and spend extra time rehabbing, OBJ will do whatever he can to get back on the field as soon as possible.

As long as he does not rush the process too much and takes his time with the correct physical therapy, he should be ready to go for the season.  Another thing to note is these players have some of the best physical therapists in the country no doubt, as teams normally have them on site and hire them based on their credentials realistically.  

Playstyle of OBJ

One of the biggest notions here to focus on is how OBJ’s playstyle would be affected by this injury both in the short and long run.  He primarily runs short to intermediate routes and focuses on YAC type receiving to do the work, as well as contested catches where his hands are the biggest component.  He is not necessarily the shiftiest receiver out there or the fastest, so he likely will not put a ton of pressure on the ACL to perform constantly.

The injury was sustained in a freak accident, not during his routes, which is why I believe this is not a huge cause for concern.  As long as he can keep that knee stable whether that be with compression or other small forms of game padding, he likely should not see any drop-off in his receiving numbers, as they are not reliant on game breaking shifts. 

Three Browns Players with the most to prove this Offseason

Is Greedy Williams the CB2?

By: Michael Welsh

With the NFL Draft over and Free Agency remaining very quiet, we’re getting to a point where teams will focus on the players on their roster and the decisions to be made. The Cleveland Browns made several great moves this off-season, and that means the pressure is on for a few players to prove they should be on the team. There will be tough choices to be made from GM Andrew Berry and challenging hills to climb for a few players that have been with the team for a few years. Let’s check out the players with the most to prove in OTA’s and Training Camp.

Greedy Williams – CB

It wasn’t long ago that Greedy Williams was the starter alongside Denzel Ward in the secondary. He had impressive flashes in his 2019 rookie season and also showed plenty of areas to improve on. Either way, the future seemed bright for the LSU product. Unfortunately, Greedy began dealing with a nerve issue in his shoulder before the 2020 season started and he didn’t play one snap. It quickly became concerning because nerve damage is something that can stick around forever, so many wondered if Williams would even play again. Earlier this year, he took to Twitter to announce he was coming back. As exciting as this is for him, the Browns have a stacked secondary after drafting Greg Newsome out of Northwestern and signing Troy Hill from the Los Angeles Rams. All of the sudden, Greedy will have to work even harder to prove he still has the talent to make the roster. He hasn’t played football in a long time, so hopefully he hasn’t lost a step. You can never have too many cornerbacks, so at least he has that in his favor.

Jordan Elliot – DT

One room that has gotten crowded fast for the Browns is the defensive line room. Jordan Elliot was drafted by Andrew Berry in the 3rd round of the 2020 draft and he saw some rotational playing time last season. He finished with 12 tackles, 1 forced fumble and a 55.3 Pro Football Focus grade. There were several moments where he looked like a first string player, but he still has an uphill battle to make the roster and earn playing time in 2021. Cleveland drafted Tommy Togiai out of Ohio State in the 4th round, signed Malik Jackson, and they have Andrew Billings coming back after opting out in 2020. In addition to them, veterans Sheldon Day and Damion Square will be competing for roster spots. Things will be interesting with Jordan Elliot and the defensive line room.

Drew Forbes – G

The Browns had arguably the best offensive line in football last season. The starters are set for years to come, but that doesn’t mean depth isn’t needed. Drew Forbes was drafted by John Dorsey in the 6th round of the 2019 draft out of Southeast Missouri State. He hasn’t seen any playing time, but at one time there were rumblings of him having tremendous upside at the pro level after a few years of development. Forbes chose to opt out of the 2020 season, so making the roster in 2021 is going to be very challenging. The Browns have since drafted James Hudson and Nick Harris, both of which can play all over the offensive line. They also brought in Blake Hance who came up clutch in the playoffs against the Steelers, as well as Michael Dunn. Forbes will have his work cut out for him if he wants to wear the brown and orange in 2021.

Why the Cleveland Browns have the most talented roster in the league

Who has the most talented NFL roster?

By: Ladarius Brown

Before their 11-5 record in 2020, the Browns had just two winning seasons since their reincarnation back into the NFL in 1999. Since 1999 and excluding the 2020 season, they had a .302 winning percentage, the worst win percentage in that stretch.   

Whether it was underwhelming 1st draft picks (Johnny Manziel, Brandon Weeden, Courtney Brown) or lack of structure in the front office and sidelines (10 general managers and 12 head coaches since 1999), success had eluded the Browns for over two decades.   

Fast forward to the 2020 season, it was arguably their best season since returning to the league and overall, since 1994, when they also went 11-5 under some coach named Bill Belichick. That 1994 team also lost in the divisional round. This current Browns roster could be the best one in the league. 

Offense  

The strongest part of this offense lies within the offensive line. It was abundantly clear that the focus of this side of the ball was in the trenches. They drafted LT Jedrick Wills, Jr. out of Alabama in this 1st round in 2020 while signing the Titans’ former RT Jack Conklin in free agency that same year. As for the rest of the line, LG Joel Bitonio was drafted by Cleveland in 2014 in the 2nd round, and C JC Tretter, signed in 2017, and RG Wyatt Teller, who was acquired via trade from the Bills made up the best line in the league.  

Conklin concluded last season as the highest-graded right tackle in the league at 84.3 overall, and the only right tackle in the NFL to allow a pressure rate under 3.0% on 250 or more pass-blocking snaps (2.9%). Moreover, the improvement of RG Wyatt Teller is telling.   

His 92.9 PFF (Pro Football Focus) grade in 2020 also led his position, and it served as a major year-over-year growth from the 56.7 overall grade from PFF in 2019. No guard earned a positive mark on a higher percentage of his run-blocking snaps than Teller did.  

Speaking of running, RB Nick Chubb had 1,494 yards on the ground behind this line, good for 7th in the league. It was the most rushing yards in a single season for the Browns since 1999, eclipsing Jamal Lewis’ total of 1,304 in 2007. In total, the Browns had 2,374 rushing yards, 3rd behind the Ravens and Titans.   

Their WR core is deep behind multiple Pro Bowlers Odell Beckham Jr. & Jarvis Landry. Entering his 6th year in the league, Rashard Higgins had the 2nd most receiving yards in 2020 behind Landry. He was tied for 2nd with four TD receptions. Donovan Peoples-Jones, their 6th round in 2020 out of Michigan, only had 14 receptions but has tremendous upside. Plus, drafting WR Anthony Schwartz in the 3rd round in this year’s draft gives them a potential starter down the road.   

TEs Austin Hooper, David Njoku, and Harrison Bryant are no slouches either. Combined in 2020, they had 886 receiving yards and 9 TDs. Even though most of those stats complied are from Hooper, it does not change how all three can be contributors again this season.  

Lastly, QB Baker Mayfield is a player that showed me last season that he was the guy worthy of the 1st overall pick back in 2018. He cut down on his interceptions (8 in 2020 vs 21 in 2019) and improved his completion % (62.8 vs. 59.4 in 2019). HC Kevin Stefanski wants Baker to be smart with the ball, trust his O-Line, and run game. If he can take another step, this is a complete offense.  

Defense  

The talent on this defense sells itself but I will resell it to those who do not know. Starting on the defensive line, it begins with their All-Pro DE Myles Garrett. Since arriving in Cleveland in 2017, he has 42.5 sacks, which is 5th in the league. In 2020, he was 6th in the league with 12 sacks. On the other side of the line is former No.1 overall pick, Jadeveon Clowney. If DC Joe Woods and this defensive staff can get that three-year stretch (2016-2018) of his career where he had 24.5 sacks and 57 TFL (tackles for loss), the Browns win big.   

Throw in former Falcons’ 2017 1st round Takkarist McKinley and the Seahawks’ 2017 2nd round pick Malik McDowell, there is great depth here.  

The interior of the line has DT Malik Jackson gives this line nine years of experience and 35 career sacks, and 61 TFL. DTs Jordan Elliott and Andrew Billings give the line youth and tremendous upside capable of being one of the best defensive lines by the end of the 2021 season.  

Their LB core of SAM’s (strong-side LB) Sione Takitaki and Malcolm Smith do not miss a lot of tackles. Middle LBs like Anthony Walker have a chance to shine with more playing time and MLB Mack Wilson can cover the field. The WLBs (weakside LB) of Jacob Phillips and their 2nd round pick, who was a steal in my eyes, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah can be immediate contributors.   

Lastly, their secondary got better via free agency with John Johnson III could be the best signing of the offseason backed up by getting CB Troy Hill a little later in the process. The Browns’ secondary was abhorrent in 2020. Tackling those issues was of great importance. Johnson has earned no less than an 82.9 PFF coverage grade in each of his healthy NFL seasons and will be an impact player at the strong safety position. Hill will likely be a Nickelback player: not a bass player for the band, just a football player.   

Entering the draft, they had the 2nd or 3rd best roster in the league. After the draft, they have the best roster with an amalgamation of youth, experience, and depth all over the place. The Dawg Pound has something to be proud of with this roster.   

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