Training camp is finally right around the corner.
In just one week, the Browns will be back in Cleveland to begin preparations for 2022. We're gearing up for their return with a comprehensive breakdown of each position on the roster, moving next to a cornerbacks group that excelled last year and has added even more depth for this season.
Greg Newsome II
M.J. Emerson Jr.
Reggie Robinson III
What we know: The Browns certainly don't lack depth at this position. It starts with Ward, who earned his second Pro Bowl appearance last season, and continues with Newsome and Williams, who both built quality seasons a year ago and could both featured in prominent roles this season. Newsome appears likely to move inside to the slot, which would open the second outside role for Williams one year after he bounced back from the shoulder injury that forced him to miss all of 2020. Even though the CB depth was already solid, the Browns drafted Emerson in the third round of the draft last spring and believe his big 6-foot-2 frame will help him go against receivers of all sizes. Green, who was a highly-coveted undrafted free agent from 2020, also contributed when the Browns leaned on him last year with six pass breakups and one interception.
What we don't know: How might Newsome fare in a full-time slot role? He'll probably be just fine after an impressive rookie season where he played well against some top receivers, and it's worth noting that he stepped into the slot role on occasion last year when Troy Hill wasn't available. It'll also be interesting to see what kind of role the Browns give Emerson and where he fits among their deep list of corners.
The X-Factor: Ward. The Browns rewarded him with a five-year extension this offseason because he more than proved he can handle the league's top receivers on a weekly basis. As a five-year vet, he's also one of the longest-tenured members of the defense and is a true leader for the secondary.
The biggest number: 3. That's the amount of interceptions Ward had in the month of November last season, and it wasn't a coincidence that the defense turned a corner that month, too — it held opponents to 16 or less points in three of the four games in November. That led to them holding opponents to 26 or less points the rest of the season.
Says it all: "I just feel like we have three or four good corners who can go play for us right now. Greg can play inside, so that moves Greedy outside, so he is really the third outside corner, but when he stepped in last year, he proved he can play at a high level as well." - Defensive coordinator Joe Woods on the CBs
How many were kept on the initial 53-man roster last year?: 5
Denzel Ward has been voted to the 2022 Pro Bowl