With talks of J.J. Watt signing with the Cleveland Browns, what else does Cleveland need this off-season to take the next step forward in 2021?
With three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt reportedly being interested in calling the Cleveland Browns home for the 2021 season (via Mary Kay Cabot), one other question is raised: Will Watt fix the Browns alone?
Signing a player of Watt’s caliber would surely bolster a defensive line that struggled to bring pressure this past season during Myles Garrett’s absence due to COVID-19. Whether Watt rotates with Browns defensive end Olivier Vernon on one side or plays back at the tackle position, a Watt signing in Cleveland is beneficial to all.
However, signing Watt alone isn’t likely to solve the Browns’ defensive woes. The 2020 season showed glaring holes in both the secondary and at the linebacker position that Cleveland will need to fix if they want to make it further than the Divisional Round.
The 2021 NFL Draft is loaded with talent the Cleveland Browns need
If the Browns manage to find themselves staring at Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons with the 26th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, they may find themselves with a sideline-to-sideline player that can plug the run-stopping and tackling deficiencies the team saw in 2020.
The more likely scenario is that the Browns will find themselves drafting Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, a prospect that many say could also play at safety, a position Cleveland is equally as desperate to improve at.
If a linebacker isn’t available at the 26th spot, perhaps Cleveland patches up their secondary and drafts South Carolina cornerback Jaycee Horn, a physical defensive to pair alongside Pro-Bowl corner Denzel Ward.
Regardless of whether Cleveland wins the J.J. Watt sweepstakes or not, the room for improvement will remain. Whether it be through free agency or later during April’s draft, the Browns have multiple opportunities to secure success going into the 2021 season.