During this offseason, GM John Dorsey made it very clear that a big focus of this team was going to be the defensive line. He had drafted Chad Thomas in his first draft with the Cleveland Browns and had already inherited great players like Larry Ogunjobi, Danny Shelton, Emmanuel Ogbah and, of course, Myles Garrett.
However, for it to really be Dorsey’s team, he had to scrap what he didn’t want, which then saw Danny Shelton and Emmanuel Ogbah get dealt to the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs respectively.
From there, he really built the defensive line into the wrecking crew it is.
The defensive line consisting of Myles Garrett, Oliver Vernon, Larry Ogunjobi, Deveroe Lawrence, Chad Thomas, Daniel Ekuale, Chris Smith, and always health scratch Genard Avery.
They have been a monster of a group this year.
Myles Garrett alone accounts for nine of the team’s 19 sacks. Larry Ogunjobi has three, Chad Thomas and Oliver Vernon both have one. While we complain about how awful the Browns offensive line has been playing, Baker has been sacked 16 times and we’ve sacked the quarterback on the opposing team 14 times just from the defensive line. They’ve gone up against some of the best offensive lines in the league. The Rams, the 49ers, the Ravens, and yes, even the seahawks have superior offensive lines. The Browns defensive line has made them look like XFL players.
On the other hand, the rush defense has not looked all that great. They have given up nearly 1,000 rushing yards, which isn’t good.
It does have some things to do with the absence of Christian Kirksey in the linebacking core, Joe Schobert can’t do it all by himself and Mack Wilson is still learning quite a bit. I expect the rush defense to slowly get better as we’ve had to face guys like Lamar Jackson, Matt Berida, Leveon Bell and Derrick Henry. They’ve given up an average of five yards per carry and have only given up five touchdowns on the ground, which shows how good their red zone defense is since most of those rushing touchdowns have been from outside of the red zone.
There is a lot to improve with the defensive line, however, the pass rush they’ve been bringing has been just too much for even the best offensive lines. Myles Garrett has a real shot at breaking the single-season sack record and being the DPOY.
To this point in the season, I will give them a C for their rush defense and an A for their pass rush – Averaging it out to an overall B grade.