Training camp is finally right around the corner.
In two weeks, the Browns will be back in Cleveland and begin preparations for 2022. We're preparing for their return with a comprehensive breakdown of each position on the roster, moving next to a group that boasts two Pro Bowlers and could once again be one of the most formidable units in the league.
The Offensive Line
What we know: This group likely has one of, if not the best package of guards in the NFL. Bitonio and Teller each had Pro Bowl seasons in 2021 — Bitonio was voted to his fourth-straight, while Teller was selected for the first time in his career — and have thrived in the wide-zone blocking scheme since Kevin Stefanski became head coach two years ago. Conklin, a 2020 First Team All-Pro player, will be a huge boost to the group after injuries limited him to seven games last season. Wills is entering his third season at left tackle, which was a new position for him when he was drafted 10th overall in 2020 after he played right tackle in Alabama, and will be expected to take a big leap. The only competition for starts in this group will be at center, although Harris is the early frontrunner.
What we don't know: Is Harris a lock to start? It wouldn't be surprising after he took all first-team snaps in the offseason program, but he'll still have to win the job in training camp over Pocic, a sixth-year veteran signed in free agency from Seattle. The Browns believe Harris is well-groomed for the job after he took a heavy amount of practice snaps behind longtime center JC Tretter the last two seasons. He's only started two games, but he performed well in his lone start last season against Green Bay when he allowed no sacks and earned a 70.0 grade from Pro Football Focus. He'd certainly benefit, too, by playing in between two Pro Bowl guards.
The X-Factor: Harris, or whoever wins the starting center job. The Browns have consistent talent at every other position on the offensive line and have been able to build a top-five run game in the league the last two seasons because of it. If Harris can step in and immediately perform at a high level, there should be no drop-off.
The biggest number: 0. The Browns didn't finish a game last season with all their primary starters healthy. Injuries to Wills and Conklin made it hard for the group to be at full strength, which was a reason why the Browns allowed 49 sacks, sixth-most in the league. They know that number must decrease in 2022, and having a healthy unit would likely make that goal easy to meet.
Says it all: "I think it's just the amount of reps I get in practice. Playing behind (former Browns C) JC (Tretter), I learned a lot. He is a veteran center – I personally think one of the better centers in the NFL – so playing behind him, learning how he is in the meeting and learning his tricks and his tools that he has learned over his career helped me tremendously. Like you mentioned, the amount of reps that I have taken against top-tier talent out here on defense, it has helped me tremendously. Then getting those couple of games that I have played, playing against Green Bay, it made me feel like I belong. It felt good to be playing center, getting out there and doing what I do." - Nick Harris
How many were kept on the initial 53-man roster last year?: 10
Check exclusive photos of Browns players posing for a team photoshoot