Quarterbacks are going to have nightmares about the Cleveland Browns next season.
Headlined by Pro Bowl defensive end Myles Garrett, the Browns are set to have one of the most impactful pass-rush units with Sheldon Richardson, Larry Ogunjobi and Olivier Vernon also in the fold.
Pro Football Focus took notice of Cleveland’s stacked unit up front, ranking them as the No. 3 ranked pass-rush unit heading into the season. The Browns are behind only the Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles on the list.
“One of the biggest movers this offseason. Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson are easy plug-and-play options who earned pass-rushing grades of 86.0 and 65.8 respectively last season,”
Myles Garrett is the Catalyst Up Front for Browns
If the Browns are going to be one of the top units in the league, Garrett will have to improve upon his already stellar numbers of a year ago.
Garrett collected 13.5 sacks last season and was just a half-sack short of the tying Reggie Camp’s 35-year-old single-season franchise record. He was a Pro Bowl pick and got the nod as a second-team All-Pro.
The former No. 1 overall pick shared a video working out recently where he was poked about his sack numbers.
“Thirteen and a half sacks ain’t nothing man,” the cameraman says. “I need 20.”
Garrett swiftly responds, “Just wait on it.”
Larry Ogunjobi Poised for Big Year with Browns
If there’s anyone who would know Ogunjobi’s potential, it’s Garrett, the guy who lines up next to him nearly every snap.
The Cleveland Browns defensive tackle is entering his third season in the NFL and collected 5.5 sacks a year ago. Adding to the degree of difficulty, the former third-round pick played the end of last season with a torn bicep. Garrett thinks a fully healthy Big Larry is ready for a breakout year.
“I don’t think people have been able to see all of Larry,” Garrett said this offseason. “I think that first year we both were just getting our first looks at the NFL. Some people come in and have this gigantic splash, some people just got to smoothly transition into it and I think he made that large leap last year, he was just a little bit hindered (by a torn bicep). I think he’s out for a breakout year.”
Garrett and Ogunjobi got into an Instagram squat battle earlier this offseason and the big man in the middle might be the only one who can match Garrett’s training intensity.
The New Browns: Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon
While the Browns’ Odell Beckham Jr. acquisition got all of the headlines, the Browns bringing on Vernon and Richardson should have a huge impact on the team as well.
Richardson last played with the Minnesota Vikings, collecting 49 tackles and 4.5 sacks. The 6-foot-3, 294-pound monster tackle made the Pro Bowl in 2014 and was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 with the New York Jets. He hasn’t quite matched the production of those two years since, but he still knows how to make an impact and can eat up blockers.
Vernon has collected 51.5 sacks in his seven-year career and was a Pro Bowl pick last season despite missing five games. Vernon had seven sacks and 30 tackles for the Giants in 2018.
Wanting a top pass-rusher on the other side of the line to alleviate some of the double-teams on Garrett, the Browns dealt guard Kevin Zeitler and picks for Vernon. It was a bit of a gamble to send away one of Baker Mayfield’s most reliable blockers, but the Browns should see it pay big dividends when opposing quarterbacks have no time to think in the pocket.
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