Our training camp preview rolls on, this time with a look at the Browns' defensive ends.
*THE DEFENSIVE ENDS *
What we know:Between Garrett and Ogbah, the Browns (at least on paper) could have one of the league's better young pass-rushing duos. While the pair played just five games together, Cleveland's coaching staff is confident the duo has both the talent and chemistry to attack opposing quarterbacks for years to come. "I think that they have very good potential," defensive line coach Clyde Simmons said last month. "I think that the two will be a nice dynamic duo to play against each other." Indeed, in one corner is Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft who's expected to emerge as one of the league's most-dominant defenders. In the other is Ogbah, a second-round pick in 2016 who has quietly become a staple of Cleveland's defense and a gifted edge rusher in his own right. Together, they combined for 11 sacks, 60 tackles and three forced fumbles. The Browns also return Orchard (a fourth-year vet who's been hamstrung by injuries), Nassib (a rangy third-round pick in 2016) and added Chris Smith (who formerly served as a role player for the Bengals), Chad Thomas (rookie and third-round pick from Miami) and Marcell Frazier (undrafted free agent).
Biggest question:Can Garrett stay healthy and become a dominant force? The second-year defensive end will be the first to admit that injuries — including a high-ankle sprain that sidelined him for the first month of the season — limited him as a rookie. In an effort to prevent that from happening again, Garrett devoted the offseason to rehabbing and getting himself into elite shape. There's a correlation, he said, between a healthy player and a confident one. "Just being healthy this year, it's really about my confidence being able to be more mobile and not have anything hold me back," he said in May. "It's helped me, not only bring me confidence but bring my teammates confidence knowing that I'll always be out there, always working and there's not going to be any hindrances this year of what we can achieve." In just nine games, Garrett led the Browns with seven sacks and flashed generational talent on the edge. The hope is he does that on a week-in, week-out basis in 2018. "I think (he) is on the cusp of really turning into a really, really good football player in this league," head coach Hue Jackson said. Added defensive coordinator Gregg Williams: "Myles has taken another big step. Staying healthy, I would see him making a big breakout year. (But he's) got to stay healthy, and got to stay on the field."
X-Factor: Ogbah was on the cusp of a breakout season before suffering a foot injury against the Jaguars in November. It was a devastating setback for a Cleveland defense in need of its best playmakers and, of course, for Ogbah, who was coming into his own on the left side of Cleveland's defensive line. After an offseason for Ogbah to recover from surgery and get back into the swing of things, the Browns expect a big year from the third-year end. "This is Year 3 for him, and I know that he's chomping at the bit to get back out there," Jackson said during the team's OTAs. "We have to pull him back a little bit because he's ready to go, but I anticipate him having a good season. In order to do that, he has to have a good remaining OTAs and a great offseason, and he has to come back for training camp locked, loaded and ready to go." In 10 games last season, Ogbah registered 29 tackles, four sacks and six batted balls at the line of scrimmage.
Stat tracker: Garrett led the Browns with seven sacks in nine games last season, including two in his NFL debut.
Says it all:"Any time that you work with somebody that you like and care for, it makes it easier. You want to see success for both of you. It's a competition — don't let that be mistaken. It's still a competition. When you start caring for another man and what he does, getting to know him and becoming good friends, it makes it even better." — Simmons on the bond, friendly competition between Garrett and Ogbah
How many were kept at last year's 53-man cutdown? 5