Five New Cleveland Browns That Could Succeed in 2021

Five New Cleveland Browns That Could Succeed in 2021

Ayden Fahlstrom
3 years ago
4 min read
Five New Cleveland Browns That Could Succeed in 2021

 Fresh off of an 11-5 record and a trip to the AFC Divisional round, expectations are higher than ever for the Cleveland Browns. Thanks to those expectations, a good deal of additions and subtractions were made to ensure the best possible product on the field for the upcoming season. 

Here are five new members of the Browns that should be in a position to succeed right away in 2021. 

1. S John Johnson III

In an effort to transform the secondary, the Browns handed Johnson a four-year deal worth close to $34 million. However, Johnson’s track record shows that he will be a worthy investment. 

Since being a third-round pick by the Rams in 2017, Johnson has been the starting strong safety for the bulk of his career. His 2018 season was the best of his career, where in all 16 regular-season games, he finished with 11 passes defended and four interceptions, as well as 119 solo or assisted tackles. 

Johnson will replace the departed Karl Joseph, who had one forgetful season with Cleveland before returning to the Raiders this offseason. Johnson is the type of ball-finding defender you want in the secondary and should be able to take advantage of Cleveland’s above-average pass rush. 

2. CB Greg Newsome II

Continuing the revamping of the secondary, the Browns were happy to land Newsome in the first round. The Northwestern corner should start right away in the pros, and should be able to have a solid transition. 

Newsome doesn’t have a huge track record, starting 18 games for the Wildcats. However, he played a role in leading them to two Big Ten title games and was named First-team All-Big Ten. 

Newsome was one of the best cover corners in college football last season, something that should help him acclimate to the NFL right away. He’ll also be aided by Denzel Ward guarding other teams’ top options and new signee Troy Hill handling the slot. The reps on the field combined with a lack of huge pressure should help the new first-round pick succeed. 

3. WR Anthony Schwartz

Among Cleveland’s eight draft picks, it’s possible that Schwartz is the most interesting. Speed is the name of the game for the Auburn receiver, making him someone who could have a unique role in 2021. 

Schwartz is listed as a wide receiver but can be a factor in the backfield. The speedster finished his three-year career at Auburn with seven rushing touchdowns and six receiving touchdowns; however, the bulk of those came during his freshman year in 2018. 

Now the rookie is surrounded by receivers who will be on the field ahead of him, including Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, and the return of Odell Beckham Jr. However, Schwartz is the fastest of the group and could stretch the field better than any of the other receivers can, leading to some big plays. 

4. EDGE Jadaveon Clowney

Cleveland’s one-year signing of Clowney came about a month after the start of free agency, was the biggest acquisition by name recognition, but also was what many consider the riskiest. However, Clowney is in a spot to regain some of the upsides that made him one of the game’s top pass rushers. 

In his first five years in the NFL with the Texans, Clowney managed to stay healthy for 3.5 of them, registering 29 sacks. However, he managed just three sacks in 13 games for the Seahawks in 2019 before failing to record a sack in an injury-shortened campaign with the Titans last year. 

However, the biggest reason for optimism is Myles Garrett. While Seattle and Tennessee relied on Clowney to be their primary pass-rusher, Cleveland will have Garrett take the double teams, leaving Clowney opportunities for success on the other side. It’s reminiscent of his years in Houston when his biggest success came alongside J.J. Watt. 

5. DT Malik Jackson

Jackson represents an underrated veteran who has a long history associated with winning. And now, he’ll bring that pedigree to Cleveland, looking to be in a position to contribute in multiple ways. 

Jackson has been a part of a Super Bowl championship team in Denver and a conference finalist in Jacksonville during his nine-year career. In that time, he has 35 sacks, six forced fumbles, and 267 total tackles. The 31-year old also has a Pro Bowl appearance from 2017 but now comes to the Browns as more of a depth option and a leader. 

But with Garrett and Clowney on the edges, Jackson could serve as a good pass-rusher or run-stopper in the middle. He has enough experience to know what it takes to win and is also still young enough to be able to contribute physically. He should be a positive member of the defense in 2021.  

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