Cleveland Browns: 5 players who must improve the most for 2019

Cleveland Browns Antonio Callaway (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
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Cleveland Browns
Genard Avery Cleveland Browns (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Genard Avery

It’d be surprising if the Browns brought Jamie Collins back next season. They’ve paid the heavy part of his contract and could easily part ways with the linebacker this offseason.

That would open up a huge door for someone to step into a lot of playing time at outside linebacker, and it would be great if Genard Avery could be that guy.

But as a fifth-round pick in 2018, Avery is still pretty raw. His biggest strength is rushing the passer, but in order for him to stay on the field all the time, he’s got to develop into someone who can drop into coverage.

The results weren’t great. He had a 28.2 grade from Pro Football Focus, which is abysmal.

With that said, Avery gained experience on passing downs following an injury to Christian Kirksey.

With the Browns linebacker depleted by injury at the time, the Memphis product became a favorite of now departed interim head coach Gregg Williams.

Before Williams was let go, he spoke on how he used Avery in a hybrid role as an edge defender and an outside line backer.

With a new defensive coordinator in the fold, though, it will be interesting to see if they tinker more with Avery in pass coverage, especially during training camp.

Avery had 4.5 sacks in his rookie campaign, which were pretty even spaced throughout the season. He did show a mack for getting to the quarterback, even if it just resulted in pressure.

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So you could see why the Browns would benefit from getting him on the field all the time.