The Cleveland Browns missed the playoffs last year, and it resulted in yet another regime change. Cleveland is in the midst of a massive rebuild, and will likely lean heavily on young players. As a result, several of those players could have breakout seasons.
Breakout seasons happen every year in the NFL. Sometimes, the player in question makes the leap from very good to superstar. Sometimes, a player goes from role player to key starter. So who will be the breakout players for the Browns in 2016? We've put together four of the most likely candidates below.
RB Duke Johnson
Johnson isn't a three-down back, and is best in a rotation. That's exactly what will happen in Cleveland this year and head coach Hue Jackson knows how to get the most out of a running back by committee. Johnson will take on the Gio Bernard role, who had a lot of success under Jackson in Cincinnati. The Browns are light on playmakers, but Johnson is one of them. Expect him to get plenty of touches and to make the most of them.
WR Andrew Hawkins
The Browns lack WR proven WR options, but Hawkins is one of the few who has proven himself. He caught only 27 passes last season, but did have 63 the previous season and 51 in 2012. Jackson knows Hawkins from their time together in Cincinnati, and Hawkins should play a bigger role this season. Expect Robert Griffin III to find Hawkins on underneath routes often this year.
DT Danny Shelton
Shelton underachieved at bit last season, but the Browns didn't always use their 2015 first round pick the way they should have. That won't be the case this year with Ray Horton running the show. Shelton won't be a sack machine, but expect an improved Shelton in his second season. Download the Chat Sports app for all the Browns coverage you need.
OLB Nate Orchard
Orchard was the Browns' second round pick last season and he showed promise. He picked up his play in the last few weeks, recording all three of his sacks in the final six games. He's a perfect fit for Horton's defense and should be even better this season. Don't be surprised if Orchard ends up leading the Browns in sacks this year.Back to the Cleveland Browns Newsfeed