Welcome back to the seventh installment of the series. I am taking a deep dive into the Browns roster and how they can best fill the holes in their roster. Every few days I will be releasing a different position room.
For every position room, I have outlined how the NFL structures that position on the roster. The players we have in four categories: starter, rotation (play some snaps), depth (injury backup/special teams), and other (likely cut). Then I will lay out the options currently on the roster, available in FA as well as via the draft for all 53 spots.
The average NFL team has 9.1 DLs on their roster. You want your two starters on the edge playing approximately 66% of the snaps, this is to keep them fresh and performing at maximum efficiency. Then you want two rotational pieces, likely playing around 40% of snaps each. This is due to the use of packages where you will have one or two edge players playing on the interior during obvious pass-rushing downs. The fifth edge provides depth and special teams.
Starting ED: Myles Garrett
Roster – The Browns have a superstar at the edge in Myles Garrett. He is now going into his fifth season followed by the five-year extension he signed last offseason. This will keep him with the Browns until at least the 2026 season where he will be 31.
Starting ED: ?
Roster – Vernon would have been the obvious choice for an extension to keep him here for an $8m one year deal or two years $15m deal while a rookie pick develops. Unfortunately, his achilles injury will mean he misses several weeks and the start of the season and can’t be relied on as a starting edge for 2021. It is likely he remains unsigned until he is nearer being healthy or they place him on a cheap one year deal with lots of incentives to see if he can make it back later this season.
FA – Where Garrett is signed to a massive deal it is unlikely we will ever see a high priced veteran opposite him long term like Trey Hendrickson. It is possible that they sign a mid-priced veteran to operate as a bridge on a one/two year deal until a player on a rookie deal can step up. Melvin Ingram is the perfect example. Other players who are available but riskier are Aldon Smith, Everson Griffen and Romeo Okwara. Personally, Okwara is my favourite as you can do a three-year deal which pairs up nicely with a draft pick. He can be a good second but also a brilliant third. If the draft pick hits you have got great depth across the entire room.
Draft – The other option for the Brown is that they take an edge in the first two rounds who can come in and provide instant impact as a day one starter. It would likely mean they need to bring in a solid veteran edge as their third to make sure it is a smooth transition over the first few weeks if the rookie doesn’t performed as hoped week one.
Rotational ED: ?
Roster – The only option the Browns have for this role is Adrian Clayborn. He has a $3m option on his contract this year so I feel it is likely they go a different direction instead.
FA – There are lots of rotational edges due to hit free agency at the moment. I expect the Browns to go the route of adding the start in the draft and choosing one of these free agents to add to the room. Some of the names available are Ronald Blair, Kerry Hyder, Jordan Jenkins, Jeremiah Attaochu, Tyus Bowser, Pernell McPhee, Tarell Basham, Samson Ebukam, Vince Biegel and Vinny Curry.
Draft – The Browns are more or less certain to add an edge defender on day one or two of the draft. If they bring in a veteran free agent to start then expect the rookie to slot in at one of the rotational roles.
Rotational ED: Porter Gustin
Roster – After a slower start to the season he really stepped up in the second half. While he has little chance of becoming a starter he has shown he can consistently be a rotational piece, which could lead to a solid NFL career. He is likely on the Browns for the next two seasons before testing free agency.
Depth ED: ?
Roster – The Browns’ snapped up Curtis Weaver when the Dolphins waived him injured. He has massive upside and was one of PFFs top 32 prospects during the last draft. He needs to develop his body but could be a player they stash as their fifth edge, especially if he can contribute on special teams.
Draft – This could be a position where they test the end of the draft and UDFA market for talent and see how people do in camp. Weaver looks like a great prospect but he is also yet to take an NFL snap.
Other: Joe Jackson, Cameron Malveaux, George Obinna (ERFA), Trevon Young
Check back Wednesday for the Interior Defender deep dive.
Any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @JackDuffin. The DMs are open for any salary cap/roster construction questions you have.