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Cleveland Browns Front Seven Becoming Their Strongest Asset

Going into 2017 and beyond, the Cleveland Browns front seven should become their strongest asset on the field. Here's why.

When the Cleveland Browns returned to the NFL in 1999, fans expected subpar results for a while. However, the Browns still look like an expansion team almost 20 years later. In a combination of ugly rosters, horrible coaching, and dumb luck, the 2016 Browns were just as bad as in 1999. But recently, something has begun to take place in Cleveland. Beginning with the hiring of head coach Hue Jackson, the Browns look to have finally started to turn around. Although they finished 1-15 in the 2016 season, the Browns have hoarded draft picks for 2017 and 2018. While Jackson specializes mostly as an offensive coach, the Browns look to go heavy on defense in this draft. Starting next year, the Browns front seven should become their strongest suit.

Cleveland Browns Front Seven Becoming Their Strongest Asset

Myles Garrett

Let’s start with the elephant in the room. With his standout performance at the 2017 NFL Combine, Myles Garrett has only helped the Browns. That is to say, he has solidified his status as the top pick in the draft.

First off, Garrett has seen more hype than any other prospect in this year’s draft class. Why is that? Well, simply because he’s an athletic freak like no one else this year. In a draft loaded with defensive talent, Myles Garrett stands out. In fact, he stands out in such a way that scouts don’t know who to compare him to in the NFL. He’s that good.

If the Browns should pass on Garrett with the first overall pick, their front office needs to go. This decision is a complete no-brainer. And while it is understandable that a quarterback is important, Myles Garrett could be a generational talent. If this Browns front seven really wants to strengthen itself, Garrett is waiting for them at the top of the draft.

Emmanuel Ogbah

During the 2016 season, Emmanuel Ogbah showed flashed of his greatness. “The E-Man” racked up 5.5 sacks on the year and a combined 53 tackles. While this may not seem like much, it’s important to remember a couple of things. First of all, Ogbah is a rookie. Not every first-year player can be Ndamukong Suh and rack up amazing rookie years. Ogbah is only 23 years old, and there is no doubt that he’s going to get even better in years to come.

Secondly, it is important to keep in mind how bad Cleveland’s defense was. Although the Browns front seven is looking up, it was not great in 2016. And that’s putting it lightly. However, Ogbah was a bright spot on a subpar defense in 2016. He had a lot more work to do than one player should have, and therefore his stats suffered. One man does not a good defense make, and Ogbah epitomized that in his rookie year.

Jamie Collins

In the middle of the season, Cleveland made a blockbuster trade to strengthen their linebacking corps. Hue Jackson got into contact with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and started trade talks for Jamie Collins. As soon as this trade went through, Browns fans rejoiced for a myriad of reasons. First of all, they now had a defensive cornerstone to build around. More importantly, he was still young.

The past Browns regime had a really bad habit of signing older free agents on the decline. However, Collins was still very much in his athletic prime. During his time in New England, Collins was a stud linebacker, but Belichick wasn’t willing to pay him. Thus, he traded Collins to Cleveland, where he could strengthen the Browns front seven. When the Browns were able to re-sign Collins to a long-term deal, Cleveland fans rejoiced once more. Finally giving fans something to cheer about, Jamie Collins is a great building block in the linebacking corps.

Danny Shelton

When the Mike Pettine regime started in Cleveland, fixing the defense was their main goal. This particular regime showed that with their first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, selecting Washington’s Danny Shelton. Although Shelton struggled as a rookie, he vastly improved as a second-year player.

During the 2016 season, Shelton developed into a leader of the Browns front seven. Racking up an impressive 59 tackles as a nose tackle in 2016, Shelton showed flashes like Ogbah did. Again, Shelton is only 23 years old, much like Ogbah. As he looks to make the jump in 2017, fans should be excited about Danny Shelton’s ability. Hopefully, Gregg Williams can unleash the full potential of Shelton in the coming years.

Christian Kirksey

In simple terms, Christian Kirksey broke out in 2016. During last season alone, Kirksey collected an astonishing 148 combined tackles. Whether you like Kirksey or not, that’s very impressive. If Kirksey can continue to produce like this, he could be a franchise player for the Browns. Of course, he should see a downgrade in tackles if he plays on a better defense next year. However, he and Collins should make for a frighteningly good linebacker duo in 2017.


The Browns front seven should be their defining feature starting in 2017. Not only is it going to get stronger through the draft, but it also as some very good current pieces. Everything points to the Browns improving in 2017. Aside from a quarterback, they seem to have a few good offensive pieces in place. On defense, while their secondary currently struggles, their front seven is only getting better. Expect this Browns front seven to strike fear into the hearts of quarterbacks in 2017 and beyond.


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