The Cleveland Browns defense and speed were matters of concern last season, and now those concerns have been addressed. Andrew Berry made some calculated decisions during the 2021 Draft that paid off, despite this being the first time in 25 years the Browns picked so late in the first round. Now, it’s time to move forward and work on an even stronger season than 2020.
Cleveland Browns Defense and Speed Hold Promise
The Browns were a bigger force last season than most predicted. They defied odds, overcame challenges, and along with the entire league, faced a very different world. The difference was that this time, they were hungry for success. They thrived on their need to prove the naysayers wrong.
Although they reached the playoffs for the first time in 18 years, there was a nagging need for a shutdown cornerback, an athletic and versatile linebacker, and a speedy receiver.
They Have The Ideal Cornerback
Greg Newsome from Northwestern is exactly what Cleveland needs. Some call him “ultra-competitive and ultra-confident”. The three-year starter expected to go a little higher and was somewhat disappointed that he fell that far. “The way I feel, if I’m not the first pick in the draft then everyone made a mistake. That’s the type of confidence I have. I could have been picked second overall and I still would have had a chip on my shoulder.”
Well, one such player with a chip on his shoulder is Kareem Hunt. And that fueled him to be one of the best running backs in the NFL. This chip on Newsome’s shoulder should ideally put him in the right frame of mind to do big things.
Berry noted that Newsome is laid back off the field, but on the field an entirely different person. “He’s very, very confident, and highly competitive.” Cleveland lacked a corner who had that much confidence. If Newsome lives up to his own expectations, the Browns are sorted in that area.
The Holes In Cleveland Browns Defense Have Been Fixed
Prior to the draft, Berry signed six free agents, all defensive players. Suffice it to say that the defense is undergoing a big change. Adding another valuable piece to strengthen the unit comes in the form of Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Berry obviously felt that going up in the draft (trading with Carolina Panthers) was a worthy investment.
It seems like it was destiny, with Owusu-Koramoah revealing that he pictured himself in one of the Browns schemes while watching them last year. “It has been a blessing to see everything come to fruition.” A blessing indeed – the rookie is a quick processor with a high motor and great range. The ideal schematic fit.
A Fast Receiver? Yes Please.
Cleveland’s receivers have shone brightly. However, Odell Beckham Jr.’s injury meant that one quality was lacking: speed. Auburn’s Anthony Schwartz blew everyone away with a 4.2 in the 40-yard dash, cementing him as the next great receiver in Cleveland’s arsenal.
Of his own talent, he said “Every time you throw it deep, I’m grabbing it and it’s going to be a touchdown.” That run-after-catch mindset and vertical presence will lift Cleveland’s offense to a higher level.
The Browns offense last year reached heights no one thought possible. The concern had been with a defense that dwindled after previous success. Speed and defensive issues are well on their way to being resolved. Now we wait and watch.
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