CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns fans aren't used to praise this year. Especially when it comes from former Pittsburgh Steelers.
But when it comes to the offseason that Browns general manager Andrew Berry is currently midst of, even ESPN's Ryan Clark had to admit he's been impressed.
Appearing on ESPN's "Get Up" on Thursday, Clark -- who played safety for the Steelers from 2006-13 -- was asked which teams have had the best offseasons to this point. And at the top of the list was Clark's former rival in Cleveland, which has spent the bulk of the past few months improving its defense.
"The Cleveland Browns have had the most unfamiliar offseason that any Browns fan has ever seen from the Cleveland Browns because they did things right," Clark said. "Andrew Berry noticed, 'We can't play no defense.' So what do you do? John Johnson, Troy Hill, Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Newsome, Owusu-Koramoah falls to them in the draft. They are trying to win now. Then you add [third-round pick] Anthony Schwartz to the offense and now you have a deep threat with Jarvis Landry, with Odell Beckham and Kevin Stefanski, who understands how to coach.
"This team will be one of the biggest competitors to the Kansas City Chiefs and it's because of Andrew Berry and what he did in the offseason."
The New York Jets, New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers rounded out Clark's top five.
As Clark noted, Berry has prioritized improving Cleveland's defense this offseason, signing safety John Johnson III, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, cornerback Troy Hill, defensive end Takkarist McKinley, linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. and defensive tackle Malik Jackson in free agency. The Browns also used their first and second-round picks in last week's NFL Draft on cornerback Greg Newsome II and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, respectively, before also adding wide receiver Anthony Schwartz in the third round.
Following Berry's offseason makeover, it's feasible that Cleveland could enter the 2021 season with nine new starters on defense. Speaking to reporters following the draft, Berry discussed the strategy he has deployed throughout this offseason.
"Every year, regardless of where your team is, something like one-third of the roster gets turned over on average. This year is a little bit unique in that we did have more turnover on the defensive side of the ball than on offense," Berry said. "Also, part of that is just a function of where our defense was contractually as we get into the year. We had a number of unrestricted free agents, and many of them were on that side of the ball. We love the guys we brought in this offseason and we are optimistic that they are going to be very capable producers, but I think turnover is pretty typical.”