Training Camp is a week away and while the focus of the Cleveland Browns will be mainly on Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham, Nick Chubb, and Myles Garrett, there are several players on the roster that are flying under the radar.
These players are ones who aren’t rookies or guys that have had proven track records in the league but players who aren’t being counted on but could easily come out of nowhere and make a major impact for the 2020 version of the Browns.
Wyatt Teller, Right Guard
The Cleveland Browns offensive line was upgraded during the offseason with the addition of Jack Conklin in free agency and Jedrick Wills with the 10th pick in the NFL Draft.
All eyes though will be on Wyatt Teller, who is entering his third season in the NFL and his second with the Browns. He’s the projected starting right guard heading into camp after starting eight games last season at the position. Teller had a solid 2019 season grading out 43rd among qualifying guards according to Pro Football Focus. He allowed just one sack but did allow 15 pressures.
It’s expected that second-year player Drew Forbes and veteran offensive lineman Chris Hubbard could compete for the position but from all accounts, it looks like Teller should be the guy. Should Teller lock down the position, there’s no reason why the Browns offensive line shouldn’t be considered among the best in football by season’s end.
Mack Wilson, Linebacker
The Browns linebacker room looks very different heading into 2020 as Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey are both gone having been released or walked in free agency.
Mack Wilson is now looked at as the “Top Dawg” in the room in only his second NFL season although many around football look at the Browns linebacker position as a major weakness as of now. As a rookie, Wilson had 82 tackles, one interception, one sack, and one forced fumble but Pro Football Focus gave Wilson a 42.9 grade which is a “below average” player.
Wilson had a big role in 2019 and will have even greater expectations in 2020. If Wilson can even Cleveland just half of what Kirksey and Schobert gave during their Cleveland tenures in only his second season, it’ll make Browns fans feel easier about letting the veterans loose.
Porter Gustin, Edge Rusher
It might be hard to breakout as the potential fourth or even fifth edge rusher on the roster but Porter Gustin could be that guy for the Browns this upcoming season.
Myles Garrett, Olivier Vernon, and Adrian Clayborn are the three lead players coming off the edge but Gustin could be a guy who can give the veterans a breather and hopefully make a contribution wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks and offensive lines.
Gustin signed on the Browns practice squad last November and within two weeks was signed to the active roster following the Myles Garrett incident. Playing in the final six games, the undrafted rookie from USC had one sack and seven QB pressures in the final six games and was the highest-graded tackler among the defensive linemen according to Pro Football Focus.
Gustin will expect to compete with Chad Thomas for the fourth edge rusher spot and as lackluster as Thomas has been so far in his career, the 23-year-old should win the job and can hopefully make an impact in a rotational role that will make the veterans’ job easier on Sundays.
Sheldrick Redwine, Safety
The Browns upgraded the safety position in the offseason with the additions of Karl Joseph and Andrew Sendejo in free agency as well as the selection of Grant Delpit in the second-round of the NFL Draft.
One name that has seemed to be forgotten is the second-year player and 2019 fourth-round pick Sheldrick Redwine. Redwine’s rookie season saw him get more playing time than expected when Morgan Burnett’s season ended with an Achilles injury.
He started the final five games and had 42 tackles and two pass deflections and PFF graded him with a 66.4 compared to Burnett’s 67.7 and Damarious Randall’s 69.3. The biggest knock on Redwine was the eight missed tackles he had throughout the season.
Joe Woods’ defense is expected to have a lot of multiple safety packages which could lead to a big role for Redwine heading into 2020. Of course there will be the talk that because he wasn’t selected by this current regime that many might write him off but if what general manager Andrew Berry said holds true, Redwine is going to have every opportunity to make this roster and could make a big impact for the Browns secondary in 2020.
Stephen Carlson, Tight End
The uncertainty with David Njoku’s future with the Cleveland Browns leads the inclusion of Carlson on this list.
Should the Browns grant Njoku his trade request than the Browns will be left with Austin Hooper, rookie Harrison Bryant, Carlson, and Pharaoh Brown as the tight ends on the current roster. They could bring in a free agent but with all the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, head coach Kevin Stefanski and the coaching staff could likely roll with what’s in house.
Carlson got little playing time in 2019 but got playing time down the stretch because of an alleged feud between Njoku and former head coach Freddie Kitchens. The second-year tight end made an unbelievable touchdown catch against Pittsburgh in Week 11 and overall had five catches for 51 yards including the touchdown.
Stefanski’s offense and its history in the league does bode well for tight ends so if the coaching staff doesn’t feel comfortable throwing Bryant into the fire so early as a rookie, they could look to Carlson to let Bryant ease his way into the league. Carlson is a big target at 6’4, 240 lbs. and with Baker Mayfield loving to throw to the tight ends going back to his days at Oklahoma, Carlson could find himself with a big role on offense for the Browns in 2020.