The Cleveland Browns had a deceptively bad pass rush in 2021.
You may think being in the Top 10 in sacks for a year would be a good thing for the Cleveland Browns. Yes, with Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney leading the way the Browns finished 9th overall in sacks for the year. Yet, that stat lies. It doesn’t show the truth that the Browns defensive struggled to get much of a pass-rush outside of Clowney and Garrett.
In fact, the Browns were just 19th in pressures for the year. They were a boom or bust type of defense in that regard. So how did they get in the Top 10 in sacks? It wasn’t just because of Garrett and Clowney but Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams, Troy Hill, and Greg Newsome.
That’s right, coverage sacks.
The Browns’ secondary was so potent that the defense was able to get to the quarterback; eventually. This is why despite the obvious need for a wide receiver, the Browns have to also look at defensive end, tackles, and blitzing linebackers in the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Cleveland Browns need more heat off the edge
Truthfully, the position of need is going to be determined by what gets addressed in the free agency period and by whom. If the Browns get Clowney back and sign a top-receiver like Chris Godwin, I would go defensive end in the first round, but if the Browns land someone like Allen Robinson, a good but not fast receiver, then I’d prioritize a speedster in the first round to help make the opposing defenses sweat.
The team needs both, but with the onus on Baker Mayfield proving that he can win with the Browns, the thought process has been on getting him a big-time playmaker to help prove if he can or can’t.
The Browns however have two huge holes that need to be addressed.
If the Browns can bring back Clowney on a reasonable deal, and get a guy in the second round like Leo Chenal, then the Browns may actually be heading in the right direction.