PFF labels defensive tackle as the position battle to watch

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The Cleveland Browns have added competition to many of the positions on their roster especially on the defensive side of the ball. A year after loading up the offense to support Kevin Stefanski’s installation in year one, the Browns went full force in upgrading the defense.

The team spent an important asset on every position group on that side of the ball:

Edge: Takk McKinley, Jadeveon Clowney
DT: Malik Jackson, Tommy Togiai
LB: Anthony Walker, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
CB: Troy Hill, Greg Newsome II
S: John Johnson III

Those additions, along with the expected returns of Andrew Billings, Greedy Williams, and Grant Delpit are sure to provide some stiff competition in camp.

Pro Football Focus, in identifying their projected starting lineups, identified defensive tackle as the position battle to watch for the Browns:

Jordan Elliott had an underwhelming rookie season, but there is reason to believe he can take a step forward in his second season, given his college resume. He earned back-to-back PFF grades above 85.0 with Missouri in 2018 and 2019. He’ll battle for snaps alongside the returning Andrew Billings with free-agent acquisition Malik Jackson and draft acquisition Tommy Togiai.

After a rough rookie season, Elliott is the under-discussed player on the Browns defensive line. As noted, PFF graded Elliott high in college and hopes he can bounce back in his second season.

Rookie concerns could also follow Togiai in 2021 but he is currently penciled in as the team’s fourth defensive tackle and the Browns top edge players can also move inside quite easily. It will be tough for the rookie to get a lot of snaps this year.

The veteran Jackson is an important cog to the Browns defensive line. The team needs him to step into Sheldon Richardson’s role on the defense but also as a leader. Billings returning from a COVID-19 opt-out will be a question mark until he proves otherwise, as seen by the one-year deal the Browns signed him to the previous offseason.

Not only is defensive tackle a battle to watch but it also has a lot of unknowns for a team hoping to compete for a Super Bowl.