CLEVELAND, Ohio – The draft is coming, but it’s sort of fun that it isn’t a “make-or-break” event for the Browns thanks to the roster upgrade. But lots of other things have fans talking.
Hey, Terry: Considering the upgrades to the defense and the possibility of getting Grant Delpit and Greedy Williams both back and healthy, do you see this as make or break year for defensive coordinator Joe Woods? – Jeff Potts, New Martinsville, W. Va.
Hey, Terry: Have the Browns improved or just changed names? The big impact player on the D-line is still missing. – Lenny Obremski
Hey, Terry: Do you have a sense the front office views Greedy and Delpit as a bonus if healthy, Or are they planning to plug them in as starters? – D. Andrew Fetters, Waukesha, Wisc.
Hey Jeff, Andrew and Larry: If the Browns have “just changed names,” then there should be little pressure on Woods. But they made significant upgrades on defense, especially in the secondary with the signings of John Johnson III, Troy Hill, Malik Jackson, Takk McKinley and Anthony Walker. They all could end up starting.
Let’s break this down.
1. According to ESPN, Browns safeties gave up an NFL-high 12 TD passes. Johnson allowed one with the Rams. The Browns believe Hill is an upgrade over Terrance Mitchell, who signed with Houston.
2. An impact pass rusher? Not signed yet. But the defensive line could be better with the additions of Jackson (GM Andrew Berry loves this guy), McKinley and Andrew Billings coming back after missing 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.
3. Maybe the Browns sign Jadeveon Clowney, but I’m not a big fan because of his injury history.
4. Delpit and Williams are promising, but have a lot to prove. Who knows if Williams will stay healthy? He’s played only a dozen games (in 2019). I have no clue if he’s a starter.
5. Delpit, a second-round pick last year, blew out his Achilles before reaching the 2020 regular season. They really want him to start. The John Dorsey front office took Williams in 2019. So the current front office is more invested in Delpit, who also was a much better player at LSU than Williams.
6. The Browns added depth and speed on defense, and needed both. I don’t think Woods has to worry about losing his job. He has a relationship dating back to Minnesota, where he worked with Kevin Stefanski. But as the Bible says, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Woods has been given a lot in this offseason.
Hey, Terry: Why wasn’t Larry Ogunjobi brought back? He signed a one-year deal with Cincinnati. We signed someone to replace him for the same one-year contract? – Jon Black, Mentor
Hey, Jon: The 27-year-old defensive tackle thought he’d receive a multi-year deal in free agency. It didn’t happen. He had some injuries and a rather disappointing season. The Bengals signed Ogunjobi to a $6.2 million deal ($4.6 million guaranteed), according to overthecap.
While Berry was part of the front office that drafted Ogunjobi in 2016, it’s clear the Browns thought he was just OK in the middle of the line. The Browns think the Malik Jackson/Andrew Billings combination will be an improvement. Their salaries add up to $7.2 million. They also like Jordan Elliott, a third-round pick in 2020. Veteran Sheldon Richardson is at the other tackle.
Hey, Terry: Do you think Kevin Stefanski has some different ideas on how to implement OBJ (Odell Beckham Jr.) after seeing the offense click without him? I’m excited he’s back. – Eric Holmes, Seal Beach, Calif.
Hey, Terry: I like OBJ (Odell Beckham Jr.) but everyone wants to trade him. Your thoughts? – Joe Marzona, Sharon, Pa.
Hey, Terry: Assuming OBJ is healthy, where do you see Rashard Higgins and Donovan Peoples-Jones fitting in next season? – Justin Hoffee, Canton
Hey, Justin, Joe and Eric: Suppose you were told this about a player:
1. In the last four years, he has missed 42 percent (27-of-64) of his team’s games.
2. He had ACL knee surgery, and surgery to repair a broken ankle. He had surgery to repair a sports hernia in that span. That player probably doesn’t have much trade value, despite some major success when healthy.
3. He is a wide receiver, a position requiring speed and athleticism. An ACL is a major operation. The Browns and OBJ say he is making excellent progress.
Is there any reason to assume this player will come back healthy and – more challenging – stay healthy? Granted, I’m not an OBJ fan. Too much diva for me. That aside, his lack of durability is a major issue. I don’t know what type of trade value he’d have on the open market.
I’m sure Stefanski and his coaching staff are developing new ways to use OBJ. But I also think the offense is better when it’s not all about “getting OBJ the ball.” Higgins and Peoples-Jones can supply depth, and they will be needed.
Peoples-Jones could become a deep threat. He has the size (6-2, 212 pounds) and the natural ability to do so as he averaged 21.7 yards per catch on 14 receptions last season. As for Higgins, I’m biased in his direction. The stats show he is a solid, reliable receiver.
Hey, Terry: Do you see the Browns taking a WR in the first round? Or how about a QB in the late rounds to learn from Case Keenum and groom to be a backup? – Damon Hinty. Columbus.
Hey, Damon: A receiver that high? No way. In the middle rounds, sure. But they want to develop Peoples-Jones. They still are determined to add speed and athleticism on defense. They could go with a defensive back in the top two rounds.
As for a young QB late in the draft? Why not? QBs are assets. I like Davis Mills of Stanford as a middle-round pick.
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