The Cleveland Browns need to do whatever it takes to improve the defensive line for the 2023 NFL season. The Browns were an abject disaster up the middle and are losing, most likely, Jadeveon Clowney as their other starting defensive end.
Outside of DE Myles Garrett, Cleveland could have three new starters next year and could rely on second year pros Alex Wright and Isaiah Thomas to be important pieces of the defensive rotation.
The big unknown is who will be lining up on the inside of the defensive line. Perrion Winfrey is the player that is almost certain to be on the roster next year. After that, Jordan Elliott is going into the final year of his contract and hasn’t stepped up, Tommy Togiai hasn’t seen many snaps in his first two seasons and Taven Bryan is set for free agency again.
A solid option to replace Bryan could be Khalen Saunders, who won his second ring with the Chiefs after enjoying his best season to date in 2022. Saunders ended his fourth season in the NFL with a sack of Jalen Hurts in the Super Bowl.
Saunders is a player that many draft analysts really liked in the 2019 draft. The Chiefs selected him in the third round but didn't get much out of him until last season. In 2022, Saunders had 48 tackles, 3.5 sacks, eight quarterback hits and three tackles for loss.
At just 26 years old, Saunders could be a perfect buy-low player to either start or provide depth for the team without using too much cap space or a high draft pick. Adding Saunders would allow GM Andrew Berry to double down at the position or spend his early draft picks elsewhere.
Not an exciting name for Browns fans but Saunders is on his way up, is young and could come relatively cheap. A name to keep an eye on.