With the 2021 NFL draft less than three weeks away, most teams are in full draft mode, with the exception of an occasional minor free-agent signing. Most Browns fans feel GM Andrew Berry is also busy preparing for the draft. However, in an April 9th interview on 92.3 The Fan’s Baskin & Phelps show, Yahoo Sports NFL beat writer Charles Robinson hinted the Browns might make a free agent move prior to the draft. Here’s a link to the interview; listen to the first 10 minutes: https://www.audacy.com/923thefan/sports/charles-robinson-browns-will-make-move-before-draft.
In the interview, Robinson eluded that with the draft still three weeks away. There are things that could still happen with the Cleveland Browns. He stated he, “thinks the Browns will be a better team before the draft.” He also stated he, “knows what’s being worked on” and the Browns front office, “doesn’t take too many days off.” Earlier in the week, it was reported that veteran free-agent defensive end Justin Houston has decided to start team visits and could possibly visit the Browns.
With Andrew Berry, there are no coincidences. If the Browns were to sign a veteran DE that could change the plans for their first pick, number 26.
So who’s still available?
Jadeveon Clowney. It’s no secret the Browns have been interested in Clowney since last year and have already met with the talented defensive end this year. While never being an elite pass rusher, Clowney is a very good run stopper and has a good pressure rate. There are times when he can completely disrupt an opposing offense. The only question on Clowney is the health of his knee which he injured last year while playing for the Titans. There has been speculation his knee could be completely healed by mid-April.
Justin Houston. The 10-year veteran isn’t the same player he was when he came into the league. However, over the last couple of years with the Colts has shown flashes. Because of his great technique, he can still catch offensive tackles off-balance. Because of his age, 32, he’s probably better suited to be a rotational player. He is only one year removed from an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 87.1 while averaging 40 snaps a game.
Melvin Ingram, III. Once considered a first-round bust, his play improved dramatically when the Chargers drafted DE Joey Bosa. For the next three years, Ingram had 70 or more pressures. In 2020 his PFF pass-rushing grade was 72.3. At his age, 31, he isn’t going to be a primary pass-rushing end, however, he can be a good secondary pass-rushing threat with a stud like DE Myles Garrett playing on the same defensive line. With Ingram opposite Garrett, the entire pass-rush could dramatically improve.
Charles Robinson is the senior NFL writer for Yahoo Sports and has great sources, so I have no reason to doubt his reporting. More importantly, every Browns fan knows GM Andrew Berry will do whatever it takes to improve the roster, come hell or high water.