It’s obvious that the Browns have a star studded roster with a bunch of new additions and moves by the man himself, John Dorsey. While this is a good thing for the Browns and fans, there are some people that can be overlooked when looking at who can make an impact. When writing this article, a few players came to mind right off the bat, while for others, I had to do a little research.
1.Rashard Higgins: WR
It’s easy to be overlooked when it comes to the receivers because of the big names of Landry and Beckham being in the picture. Higgins and Calloway have to make names for themselves and show that they can make plays as well. According to some people, Higgins is said to be the fourth string wide out in this roster, but on any other roster, I believe Higgins could be a solid number two receiver. The receiver, out of Colorado State, is one of the only receivers in the roster over 6 feet. He is a conservative catcher and a great route runner. According to the Browns official site, Higgins played 13 games and started in one. He recorded 39 catches for 572 yards with a 14.7 yard average and four touchdowns. Next year might be a low stat year for Higgins considering the talent of his fellow receivers, but keep an eye out for him to make a couple of big plays this season.
2.Genard Avery: LB
The fifth round draft pick out of Memphis played in all 16 games and started in five of them during his rookie season as a Browns linebacker. The opportunity that Avery was given is something most rookies dream of, especially when you’re drafted in a later round. Avery made the most of his time and recorded 35 tackles, 4.5 sacks, four pass breakups, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Avery has been a great addition to this Browns defense and could be a good starter for the upcoming season. The only thing that would consider him an underrated player is because of the two linebackers that the Browns just drafted recently this year. I believe this will breed a competitive atmosphere and push Avery and the other linebackers to prove themselves.
3.Larry Ogunjobi: DL
There is a lot of buzz around DT Gerald McCoy and where he will land in free agency. Many fans and players want him to come to Cleveland and play for the Browns. I think it would be cool to have McCoy join the already stacked defensive line and make the Browns defense even scarier. The fact of the matter is that we really don’t need McCoy. If we get him, it would be for relief and a rotation of defensive packages, because we have a productive guy in Larry Ogunjobi. In his second year in the NFL, Ogunjobi recorded 50 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and a forced fumble when he started all 16 games for the Browns in the 2018 season. Again, I’ll say that getting McCoy and having him on the roster would be cool and a good move, but Larry Ogunjobi is a definite starter for this amazing Browns front seven.
4.Greg Robinson: T
In my opinion, the entire offensive line (besides Joel Bitonio) is underrated and needs to be appreciated more. Especially during the end of the season, the Browns offensive line held their own and kept opposing defenses from getting a sack on Baker. One of the most important parts to that has to be the left tackle who protects the QB’s blindspot. That contributor to the offensive line’s late season success was due to Robinson. With the signing of a few more linemen and even a draft pick at lineman, Robinson will have to work even harder and make the starting roster. If this happens, I think he will prove himself in the league and keep the Browns O-Line as one of the best in the NFL.
5.Jermaine Whitehead: S
Now the stats may not show it, but the third year safety out of Auburn has caught some eyes early on in training camp and has shown what he can do as a player. Whitehead only played six snaps on the defensive side of the ball last season and made a few tackles. New Browns defensive coordinator Steve Wilks is giving Whitehead a lot of praise stating that “he’s a leader” and that “he puts a lot of time into his craft.” Currently Whitehead has only started in two games in his career, but he’s already starting to get first team reps with the defense and is causing quite a lot of buzz with his coaches. If Whitehead keeps up his productivity, we can see him be the talk of the NFL. From undrafted to NFL starter, Jermaine Whitehead is definitely flying under the radar.
Although these five players have caught the eye of not only myself but also my colleagues, there are still a few more players that I consider to be an honorable mention. One would be Christian Kirksey because of his leadership and play style with an unfortunate case of getting injured. Another would be fifth round draft pick Mack Wilson, who is said to have impressed his coaches and exceeded expectations. Lastly for the honorable mentions would be Terrance Mitchell, who was a major part in the team’s early on success last season and would someone to help teach the younger guys like Greedy Williams.