That’s what members of the Browns’ defensive coaching staff said last week as Cleveland finished offseason workouts, a period in which they welcomed back Ogbah, the third-year defensive end, to the field following a season-ending foot injury. While Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in 2017, receives plenty of attention (and rightfully so), Ogbah would also appear poised for a big year.
“A lot of people don't give Emmanuel enough credit for what he does as a run stopper and a pass rusher. When he broke his foot last year, things were really starting to fall for him,” defensive line coach Clyde Simmons said. “I thought he was starting to get a little bit more free on his rushes. He was already doing a great job for us in the run game.”
Indeed, Ogbah seemed to be on the cusp of a breakout season before suffering a Lisfranc injury in November against the Jaguars. In 10 games last season, the 2016 second-round pick registered 29 tackles, four sacks and six batted balls at the line of scrimmage. In offseason workouts, Ogbah didn’t seem to miss a beat despite a fairly significant injury six months earlier.
“I’m so excited to see how well he’s doing out here this year. He is night and day more relaxed and doing things more instinctive, not overthinking and not afraid to make a mistake than he was last year because last year we all of a sudden moved him into a new position that he had not played for in the old regime,” second-year defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said, referencing Ogbah’s move from left to right end. “He – knock on wood – staying healthy is going to really stand out this year. He has had a very, very good camp. His health has been good.”
That’ll be key for Cleveland and new-look defense that overhauled its defensive secondary, trading for free safety Damarious Randall at the start of free agency and drafting rookie cornerback Denzel Ward with the fourth-overall pick. The Browns are counting on Garrett (seven sacks in 11 games) and Ogbah to stay healthy and make an impact in 2018.
Much like how Cleveland’s coaching staff believes Garrett can (and should) be one of the league’s preeminent defenders, they’re also bullish when it comes to Ogbah.
“I really don’t think enough is being said about how far and how well Emmanuel is doing,” Williams said last fall. “I don’t think he’s even come close to how good he could be yet.”