While the Browns’ offense was revitalized this past season with Baker Mayfield and Freddie Kitchens, a major rough spot was how poorly the defense played late in the season, and in important games against eventual playoff teams. So, looking into the draft, defense should be on John Dorsey’s mind and one player that would be perfect is two-time national champion, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins.
Wilkins showed that by far he was one of the best one-on-one defensive tackles in college football the past three seasons. The three-time All-American has amazing ability to burst through the line, cause havoc against protection and stop the run. In 2017 and 2018, he was able to become even more patient on the line, waiting to scan the run and go track down the running back.
In 2018, Wilkins compiled six sacks and 25 tackles, including four tackles in the College Football Playoff National Championship against Alabama. Over the past two seasons, he tallied up 111 tackles and 10.5 sacks, making him arguably the best defensive tackle in all of the ACC and probably all of college football.
Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney has continuously said that he is not your usual hard-nosed defensive tackle. He’s unique in the way he shows his swagger, his athleticism is different in the way he moves, and he has the capability to play different sides of the ball. Clemson had used him all over the field, both on special teams as a punt returner, and on offense as a spy running back. He ran in three touchdowns in his career with the Tigers.
How would he fit the defensive line for the Browns?
Last season, Cleveland gave up 135.2 rushing yards per game. That was 5th worst in the league last season. We were also 10th last in sacks with only 37 and overall, the team was third in giving up total yards per game with 393 yards. Adding someone to bolster this defense is extremely important. The Browns have what some would say is already a dominant defensive line.
Myles Garrett proved to the whole league last year with a bounce-back sophomore season, one that ended at the Pro Bowl. However, Larry Ogunjobi, Emmanuel Ogbah and Trevon Coley all had up and down seasons. Ogunjobi wound up getting injured at the final stretch of the season. And with Emmanuel Ogbah, the Browns considered him when they drafted Denzel Ward rather than Bradley Chubb in the 2018 draft. Dorsey and the staff were banking on Ogbah having a promising season. But that did not exactly happen. He only had three sacks in an injury-plagued season. Adding a more stable defensive lineman to that core is not going to be a waste of a pick for Cleveland. Winning the battle in the trenches is key to winning football games and Wilkins can help the Browns do just that.
Wilkins is no doubt a first-round draft pick, and it helps that he comes from a program that knows winning and wins championships. He would fit great with the Browns and plus it’s good to know he already looks great in orange.