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5 positions to watch this offseason

The Browns will be eyeing depth and upgrades at several positions

The offseason is upon us, which means the next several months will be full of mock drafts, free agency predictions and guesses about how the Browns will handle some of their top needs for 2022.

Some positions on the roster will be discussed more heavily than others, so we took a look at which spots will be worth monitoring.

Wide receiver

Under contract through 2022: Jarvis Landry, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Anthony Schwartz

Pending free agents: Rashard Higgins, Ja'Marcus Bradley, Ryan Switzer

The Browns are in position to possibly add another playmaker or two to their receiver room as they look to upgrade a passing offense that ranked 27th in the league. 2020 sixth-round pick Donovan Peoples-Jones led all receivers with 597 yards, and he — as well as 2021 third-round pick Anthony Schwartz — are two receivers the Browns are hoping to be key players in the near- and long-term future. 

Early mock drafts are heavily favoring the Browns to target a receiver with their 13th overall pick, and they'll likely have plenty of quality options to evaluate in Garrett Wilson (Ohio State), Chris Olave (Ohio State), Jameson Williams (Alabama), Treylon Burks (Arkansas), Drake London (USC) and Jahan Dotson (Penn State), among others. Davante Adams, Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin and Mike Williams also headline the wide receivers in the free-agent class.

Defensive tackle

Under contract through 2022: Tommy Togiai, Jordan Elliott

Pending free agents: Malik Jackson, Sheldon Day, Malik McDowell

With only two players currently locked in to return at DT next season, the Browns could be in position to add several new guys to the interior. Togiai, a 2021 fourth-round pick, and Elliott, a 2020 third-round pick, could have chances to seize larger roles even with new arrivals, which could come from a free agent class that will include Brandon Williams, Ndamukong Suh, Linval Joseph and several other experienced veterans. Cleveland could also use one or more of its eight draft picks to add to the room.

Defensive end

Under contract through 2022: Myles Garrett

Pending free agents: Jadeveon Clowney, Takkarist McKinley, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Porter Gustin

Reserve/Future: Curtis Weaver

The Browns have to make decisions on possible re-signings for Clowney, who built his best season since 2018 in his first year in Cleveland, and McKinley, who played well in 11 games before suffering a torn Achilles in Week 15. The Garrett-Clowney duo amassed 26 sacks, the second-most by a pair of Browns teammates and most since 1984, and it's a safe bet the Browns would love to carry similar production from the position again next season.


Under contract through 2022: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Jacob Phillips, Sione Takitaki, Mack Wilson Sr., Tony Fields II, 

Pending free agents: Anthony Walker Jr., Malcolm Smith, Montrel Meander, Elijah Lee

Reserve/Future: Willie Harvey Jr.

The Browns received consistent contributions from Walker, who led the defense with 113 tackles and provided the leadership Cleveland hoped to receive from him when he signed a one-year deal last offseason. Owusu-Koramoah, a 2021 second-round pick, displayed plenty of promise and figures to be a key piece of the linebackers room for years to come, but Executive Vice President of Football Operations and GM Andrew Berry has added multiple new linebackers in both the draft and free agency for the past two years. The Browns like the youth they have in the room now, and they could add even more to it.

Offensive tackle

Under contract through 2022: Jack Conklin, Jedrick Wills Jr., James Hudson III

Pending free agents: Chris Hubbard

Reserve/Future: Alex Taylor, Elijah Nkansah

The Browns aren't in the market for any major additions at tackle, but the position still could be one to watch due to how much Cleveland relied on its depth. Wills battled an ankle injury throughout the season while Conklin only played in seven games due to knee and elbow injuries, and those injuries forced the Browns to start backups at one or both tackle positions for 10 games. Hubbard, 30, suffered a season-ending triceps injury in Week 1, which meant Hudson, a fifth-round rookie, and Blake Hance, who is primarily a guard, were thrust into starting duties. Joel Bitonio, a four-time Pro Bowler at left guard, also started twice at left tackle.

The Browns want to avoid similar shuffling next season, and that means they could bolster the position even more.

Check out the best photos from the 2021 season by the Browns photo team