CLEVELAND -- With the selections of Emmanuel Ogbah and Myles Garrett with high picks in the NFL Draft in each of the last two years, the Cleveland Browns have gone a long way toward building depth on the defensive line through the addition of top edge rushers.
While Ogbah and Garrett both dealt with injuries last season, they were healthy during the offseason program and figure to be prominent difference-makers for a defense that ranked 31st in points allowed and interceptions, as well as last in turnovers during the 2017 regular season.
“I think that they have very good potential,” Browns defensive line coach Clyde Simmons said after the offseason program concluded.
“A lot of people do not give Emmanuel enough credit for what he does as a run stopper and a pass rusher. When he broke his foot last year, things were really starting to fall for him. I thought he was starting to get a little bit more free on his rushes. He was already doing a great job for us in the run game. I think that the two will be a nice dynamic duo to play against each other.”
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Despite being limited to 11 games because of ankle injuries and a concussion, Garrett registered 31 total tackles, including 19 solo stops and 12 assists, along with a Browns-best seven sacks and one pass defended during the 2017 season.
Because of that production, Garrett was named to the Pro Football Writers’ Association All-Rookie Team.
It took Garrett all of one series against the New York Jets to register his first career sack, and he finished his debut game with a pair of tackles against quarterback Josh McCown in front of the home fans at FirstEnergy Stadium last October.
“If he stays healthy, watch out,” defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said. “Now, we have to become better in the back end. Allow the quarterback to hold the ball longer than 2.13 seconds, now watch. In camp, he went out here in this whole camp, if you were to ask anybody on the offensive staff or ask anybody on the offensive line who gives them nightmares, it would be him.
“Tyrod has gone, ‘Yeah, better get rid of it quick. Better know where he is.’ They did not do certain things in camp to where they can do some double protections and shift protections because we do not want to hurt anybody, but Myles has taken another big step. Staying healthy, I would see him making a big breakout year. Have to stay healthy and have to stay on the field.”
PLAYER TO WATCH
In 26 games over two years with the Browns, Ogbah has registered 82 total tackles, including 46 solo stops and 36 assists with 9.5 sacks and nine passes defended. Limited to just 10 games in 2017 because of a broken foot, Ogbah registered 4.0 sacks and a career-best six passes defended last fall.
“I am so excited to see how well he (Ogbah) is doing out here this year,” Williams said.
“He is night and day more relaxed and doing things more instinctive, not overthinking and not afraid to make a mistake than he was last year because last year, we all of a sudden moved him into a new positon that he had not played for in the old regime. He -- knock on wood -- staying healthy is going to really stand out this year. He has had a very, very good camp. His health has been good.”
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