Cleveland Browns: 3 starters that could lose their job this season
The Cleveland Browns are set to open up camp here soon, still with tons of uncertainty in the air with the way the world is right now. The NFL has already announced that it will be trimming the pre-season down to just two games this year, instead of the normal 4 per year.
While many fans may be happy about it as they already thought that the pre-season was too long, this will hurt some players' chances of making that one last impression while trying to make the team.
I truly do love all of the talent that the Browns have brought onto the squad heading into the new season. From killing both the draft and free agency to now extending star pass rusher Myles Garrett, new general manager Andrew Berry has been killing it.
The new talent the Browns have brought in is so strong that they could potentially take time away from some of the starters on this team, and maybe even snatch their starting role as a whole. Who are a few of these starters that could end up in a role player type situation?
As Sheldrick Redwine has only played in one NFL season, he still impressed quite a few people last season. When I say he impressed, I do not mean with his stats. The only thing Redwine has to show for his rookie year is 42 combined tackles.
In terms of potential, it is definitely there. Learning from a guy like Andrew Sendejo who could perform well and take his job would be the best thing for Redwine. Sendejo has been in the league for quite some time now, dating all the way back to his rookie year being in 2010.
Last season, Sendejo had his career-high in interceptions with three, as well as one sack and 45 tackles. Being in the league for 10 years now, Sendejo is a proven veteran that could end up starting for Redwine at some point, if not right away.
Well, it looks like Olivier Vernon is here to stay and we can shut down all talks of him being gone after the Browns worked out a restructured contract with the veteran edge rusher. The question was never surrounding Vernon's ability on the field, more so if he is able to simply just stay on the field.
Last year, the banged-up Vernon was still able to manage 3.5 sacks when he was playing. His best season was back in 2013 with the Miami Dolphins when he finished with a whopping 11.5 sacks in one season. I strongly believe that there will be quite a few eyes monitoring the Vernon situation and if he doesn't get off to a hot start, he could see less and less of the field.
The Browns signed veteran Adrian Clayborn a little while back, arguably one of their top veteran signings this offseason. Why? He is a proven veteran talent that can provide serious depth in multiple positions on the defensive line.
Last year, Clayborn finished with 18 total tackles and four sacks. Being in the league since 2011, bringing in four sacks last year is pretty solid. If Vernon gets injured again and things get rough for him, look for the Browns to mix up how they use their guys on the defensive line. As Cleveland respects Vernon for taking less money and restructuring his contract, all the fans want is a healthy version of him.
Yes, it is all but clear that David Njoku has already lost his starting job to new Browns tight end Austin Hooper. That said, if the Browns do in fact have big plans to use him in their system like they say they do, Njoku could still see the field a lot. In this specific scenario, let's hit on Njoku losing the number two tight end spot to rookie Harrison Bryant.
Yes, Njoku is a big red zone target who I do still believe has the potential to get better. With his size, athletic ability, and strength, there is no reason we can't see him improve. That said, he has never been a consistent option.
From poor blocking on numerous occasions to having a career catch rate of 58 percent, consistency is just not a thing for Njoku. The Browns need consistency now more than ever, and if this continues to be a problem for Njoku, enter Bryant.
The fourth-round pick from Florida Atlantic had 1,004 receiving yards with seven touchdowns in his final collegiate year before the Browns selected him. Averaging over 15 yards per reception, it's clear that Bryant has the potential to be a massive target for Baker Mayfield, while most of the attention will have to be on the other numerous weapons the Browns have on their roster.
Bryant had a 54 percent catch rate on contested catches alone, while again, Njoku has a 58 percent catch rate overall.