Top 5 Browns with the Most Pressure on them in 2021

Top 5 Browns with the Most Pressure on them in 2021

Ayden Fahlstrom
3 years ago
5 min read
Top 5 Browns with the Most Pressure on them in 2021

Heading into this 2021 season, the Browns have maintained one of the best rosters in football behind strong core players at nearly every positional group.

After many lackluster seasons, the team was able to finally pull through last year and produce with new head coach Kevin Stefanski at the helm. Prior to Stefanski’s hire, the Browns had a 13-34-1 record dating back to their 0-16 season in 2017.

This past season with the help of Stefanski and their growing young stars, the Browns were able to finish 11-5 and obtained a birth to their first playoff game since 2002.

The Browns stars shined through during the season when they needed it the most.

Cleveland won their first-round Wild Card matchup against AFC North rival the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their offense dismantled the defensive strength of the Steelers to the tune of 48 points on route to a convincing 48-37 victory.

They would go on to lose in the divisional round to the Kansas City Chiefs who at the time were reigning champions, and they would make a repeat trip to the Super Bowl in 2021.

For the Browns, the potential this team has shined through, which means that there will be even more pressure put on some of their biggest names to produce.

In an AFC North division that is never easy to win, and is one of the toughest in the NFL, these 5 players will need to step up.

Odell Beckham Jr.

When the Cleveland Browns acquired Odell Beckham from the Giants in a stunning offseason trade back in March of 2019, the expectations could not be any higher than they were.

Beckham was to team up with his college teammate Jarvis Landry, and a great young QB in Baker Mayfield. The Browns looked championship-ready.

At the time, the three-time Pro Bowl receiver was expected to be some kind of savior for the Browns offense that had struggled at times in 2018. In his first year in Cleveland, he put relatively average numbers, but since the expectations were through the roof, many fans were disappointed.

Then, Beckham’s 2020 campaign was cut short due to a season-ending ACL tear during the Week 7 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Now, Beckham Jr. is 28 years old and approaching a season that will have huge implications on his future.

The Browns were successful last season without Beckahm Jr. in their lineup for the majority of the year, so it will be interesting to see how the Browns fair adding a superstar back into the mix like Odell.

Baker Mayfield and Odell have often looked out of sync when on the field, and in a season where the Browns are looking to make some noise and a run for the championship, Beckham will need to produce or we could see him on the move yet again.

Greedy Williams

In 2019, the Browns seemed like they grabbed themselves a steal when they snagged Greedy Williams in the second round out of LSU.

He looked to be the dream cornerback with all the technique and intangibles that you would want and many had him going in the Top 10 in pre-draft rankings. But on draft night he fell and landed in the Browns lap.

A similar situation happened this year when the Browns selected Greg Newsome II late in the first round to add to their cornerback depth after he was expected to go much earlier.

Newsome and Williams have been in an intense battle this offseason for the No. 2 cornerback spot.

The No. 1 spot is already occupied by star Denzel Ward, and the Browns added slot corner Troy Hill this offseason, so losing the No. 2 job to Newsome could result in Williams falling down the depth chart and becoming a potential trade piece.

Myles Garrett

Myles Garrett is not under pressure in the same sense that the rest of these players are.

Garrett has consistently produced for the Browns since he was drafted first overall by the Browns in 2017 out of the Texas A&M University.

He has topped ten sacks in each of his last three seasons, resulting in one All-Pro nod and two trips to the Pro Bowl, and much of those seasons have been cut short by minor injuries or in one case a suspension (Remember the helmet debacle?).

Garrett is on this list because of his role as the leader of this defense. The offense has the tools and weapons to be one of the top offenses in the league, but it will be the defense that will push them towards a chance at a Super Bowl.

Garrett will undoubtedly produce and make plays, but as one of the best pass rushers in the league, Garrett will be looked at under a big magnifying glass.

Kareem Hunt

Kareem Hunt has been an absolute steal for the Browns offense as the perfect complement to fellow star running back Nick Chubb.

Out of the backfield, Hunt can do it all. He runs crisp routes, changes pace, and can put his head down and run someone over when needed. After his release from the Chiefs following the domestic violence tape that surfaced, it was no shock to see a team take a chance on the young tailback.

And after being suspended for eight games for the start of the 2019 season, Hunt was ready to come back strong. As the No. 2 option for the Browns, Hunt has tallied over 1,000 rushing yards, above 500 receiving yards, and has found the endzone 14 times.

The reasoning for putting Hunt on this over someone like Nick Chubb is because of how important his role is to this offense’s success. Although he has seemed to enjoy his time in Cleveland, if he continues to play well down the line, he could see a large payday coming his way, and maybe a No.1 spot when his extension runs out.

Baker Mayfield

It could not be a list about Browns players under the most pressure without including their polarizing quarterback, Baker Mayfield.

After a great rookie season that saw Mayfield take home some accolades, as he was voted All-Rookie team, many thought he was deserving of the NFL Rookie of the Year trophy.

Baker then went on to suffer from one of the more memorable sophomore slumps in recent history. The Browns went 6-10 and Baker was a big reason why throwing 21 interceptions.

Then came 2020, and Baker seemed to be back in form. In 18 total games, including the playoffs, Baker threw for over 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns to only 9 interceptions.

Much of the Browns’ success last season can be attributed to his improved play over the season.

It is clear that this team’s success is predicated on the performance of its stars, and with Baker being the biggest name of them all, he is sure to be facing some enormous pressure.

With the Browns exercising Baker’s fifth year option, it will still be two more seasons until Baker hits the open market, but every season will count when looking at the potential for Mayfield to become one of the highest paid players in all of football.

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