While he may end up being right in saying it, I think Pittsburgh Steelers fans could be a bit wary of hearing the Cleveland Browns’ Myles Garrett talking about their defense being ‘scary.’ After all, it’s not often a player uses a helmet as a weapon in the middle of a game.
That was pretty scary. Even disregarding that, Garrett, 2017’s first overall pick, is a scary player on defense in his own right. He is among the best young pass rushers in the NFL with 42.5 career sacks in 51 games played. He eyes big things for his team this year, following an offseason of substantial additions.
“I don’t know what we’re doing in the draft,” he told Cleveland.com recently. “But with the pieces we have now, I think we’ll be very scary, so I’m looking forward to it. Getting on the field, taking the ball away and putting it back in our offenses hands and them getting the ball back for us.”
Since the start of free agency, the Browns have added pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney, cornerback Troy Hill, and safety John Johnson III to bolster their defense. They also anticipate the return of several injured starters or projected starters. Specifically, cornerback Greedy Williams and 2020 second-round safety Grant Delpit, both of whom missed all of last season.
With that said, there have been some changes. They allowed Larry Ogunjobi to walk in free agency (signing with the Cincinnati Bengals). After signing Clowney, they released Sheldon Richardson, so there is a major turnover at defensive tackle.
“It was hard to see Sheldon and Larry go,” Garrett admits. But Clowney is expected to be able to contribute inside some. In addition to him, they also added another former first-round edge defender in Takkarist McKinley, who will add to their front four. But Clowney was the splash.
“I know the guy is aggressive, really gets after it and he has a motor, keeps attacking, plays the run well and a good pass rusher,” Garrett said of his new running mate. “He’s an athletic specimen like someone I know on the Browns, so it will be fun. It really will.”
The Browns made substantial progress on the offensive side of the ball last season. They went 11-5 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Cleveland even won its first playoff game since 1994. If the defense can catch up this year, then perhaps they can legitimately compete for the AFC North title, and maybe even make a deep postseason run.