It is said that champions are made in the offseason. This is especially true for teams in the NFL. One team that hopes that their offseason has put them in the right position to compete for a championship is the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have had one of the most memorable offseasons in recent history. With the addition of Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, and Sheldon Richardson in free agency, and players like Greedy Williams, Sione Takitaki, Austin Seibert, and Mack Wilson in the draft; there are very few holes on the Browns roster. The Browns have a completely stacked roster on paper, but who are the most important players to the team? Here is my list of the top 10 players on the Browns roster after the draft.
10. Jarvis Landry: Last year, I may have had Landry in the top three on this list. However, with the addition of Odell Beckham Jr., he won’t have to be as important to the team as he was in the 2018 season. Jarvis is an absolute beast at his position and may just be the best slot receiver in the NFL. Last year he was the go-to guy on our team. This season, I look forward to him having a solid role as our number two receiver. He will compliment Odell perfectly and will have a lot of opportunities to catch the ball within the hash marks. Landry has been to four consecutive Pro Bowls. Look for him to make it to his fifth one after this season. That is if the Browns aren’t playing in the Super Bowl instead!
9. Greg Robinson: Greg Robinson had a career redeeming year in 2018. Robinson was drafted second overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 2014 draft. Although Robinson was highly drafted, most would say that he was a bust before the 2018 season. Left tackle is undoubtedly the most important position on the offensive line because their sole responsibility is to protect the quarterback’s blindside. Robinson had a lot to live up to by replacing one of the greatest left tackles in NFL history, Joe Thomas. Robinson played well enough last season to gain another 1-year contract for the 2019 season. I believe that he will earn that contract on the field this season!
8. Kicker: I decided not to put a name to this position of importance. I understand that Greg Joseph is the current starter for the Browns. However, I’m not sure if he will be the starter by the end of camp. In 2018 Joseph got a roster spot due to the previous kicker, Zane Gonzalez underperforming. Other than quarterback, the kicker position has been one that the Browns have had a hard time filling with a competent player. It’s plain and simple if Joseph can perform, then he will be the starter. If he can’t make kicks, he will be replaced. There are several games in 2018 that came down to a field goal, which was our demise.
The Browns drafted Oklahoma kicker Austin Seibert in the fifth round this season. Seibert owns the NCAA record for most points by a kicker with 499. This is a very important position, and for now, Greg Joseph has the job. However, look for Seibert to have a very good chance to take the starting position. There was a reason that general manager John Dorsey drafted this guy and I’m excited to see why!
7. Larry Ogunjobi: Larry Ogunjobi played 930 snaps and recorded 5.5 sacks and 52 tackles in the 2018 season. He had the second most snaps at his position just behind Jason Pierre-Paul and that was with an injured bicep. Ogunjobi is a great force to stop the run and will feast next to Sheldon Richardson. Ogunjobi is on my list because he is tenacious and an incredible leader! As long as Ogunjobi stays healthy, I look for his production will greatly increase this season.
6. Joe Schobert: Schobert is the “quarterback” of the defense. He contributes leadership and intelligence in the defense. His job is to make sure that every player is in the correct position and has the right look for every play. In a way, I would consider Schobert to be the on-field general/coach of the defense. He is extremely versatile and can affect the pass and the run. Schobert will have an extremely important role in the defense, especially at a position where the depth might be thin.
5. Denzel Ward: Ward had an amazing rookie season. Ward was a part of six total turnovers and participated in the Pro Bowl in 2018. He has in my eyes, one of the hardest, if not the hardest position on the defense and he performed at an elite level. The young cornerback has to cover the best wide receivers in the NFL and he does not step down from a challenge. The only concern that I have with Ward is his durability. If this kid can stay healthy, he will be one of the best at his position for years to come!
4. Nick Chubb: Having a good running game is extremely important for the success of an offense in the NFL. If you have a good running back, the defense has to account for that and has to load the box/line of scrimmage. When the defense loads the box to stop the run, they are opening themselves up to passing plays. As a rookie, Chubb was just four yards away from 1,000 rushing yards on the season. This is an incredible feat for Chubb because he didn’t have more than three carries in a game until Week Seven. Nick Chubb will have an amazing year in 2019.
3. Odell Beckham Jr.: Odell is debatably the best wide receiver in the league, and is now on the Cleveland Browns. WHAT!? It honestly doesn’t even seem real! Odell is extremely versatile. No other player in NFL history gained 3,500 yards faster than Odell. He also was the fastest to have 200 receptions. We all have seen his circus-like one-handed catches. Beckham has breakneck speed with a 4.43 40-yard dash which will blow the top off of the defense and open up the box for our running backs to have a lot of room to run. Beckham is an extremely fun player to watch, and he will thrive with Baker Mayfield throwing him the ball!
2. Myles Garrett: Myles is the anchor to the defense. The biggest way to stop an opposing offense. I don’t think that anyone can argue that this is the second most important position on the team. If you can get to the quarterback, you can change the dynamics of the game in a large way! Not many were better than Garrett at getting to the quarterback. In the 2018 season, Garrett got 13.5 sacks. Look for Myles to dominate even more now that the defensive line has been fortified by the addition of Sheldon Richardson, and Olivier Vernon.
1. Baker Mayfield: There is no doubt that the most important position on the football field is the quarterback. The Browns have had 28 starting quarterbacks since the team came back in 1999. Not only is Baker the most important player on the team in terms of playing on the field; he is the most important person in the locker room. Baker has the swagger that Cleveland needs! He owns the record by most touchdowns thrown by a rookie quarterback. Look for him to CRUSH records for years to come! It’s a very exciting time to be a fan of the Cleveland Browns!
On paper, the Browns have a loaded lineup for the 2019 NFL season. These players may be the most important on the team, however for them to succeed, it is going to take every single player on the roster to give their absolute best. There is a new culture in Cleveland. They have every opportunity to make this season extremely special. I for one, am so excited for this NFL season to start!