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Browns Free Agency: Top 2021 Defensive Free Agents Acquired

Thus far, the Cleveland Browns have been diving in head first to the NFL Free Agency pool. General Manager Andrew Berry has been actively trying to improve the roster of the Browns, which has been essential in competing against other NFL teams for the best prospects. After the 2020 season, it was clear that Cleveland needed help defensively. So far, Berry has been nailing the needs of the Browns.

Let’s take a look at the best defensive players signed in the 2021 Browns free agency thus far.

john johnson III rams browns nfl free agency stats
Credit: Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

Top Defensive Players Signed in Browns Free Agency

Troy Hill, CB

Being an Ohio native, as well as one of the top cornerbacks who became available in the free agency, Troy Hill was a no-brainer for the Browns. His 2020 season with the Rams was the best of his career, ending with 77 tackles, 10 passes defended and three interceptions. For the Browns, Hill will bring excellent versatility, which is a characteristic the Cleveland direly needs, defensively.

John Johnson III, FS

The biggest news that has been swirling about John Johnson III is his denial of significantly bigger offers to sign with the Browns. This shows Johnson’s dedication to Cleveland, as well as his desire to improve the secondary. Johnson arrives to Cleveland as one of the top safeties in the free agency, ending his career with the Rams with over 100 tackles in each of his last two full seasons. As well as being a top safety, Johnson offers impressive leadership skills on and off the field, which is something that could improve the overall dynamic of the Browns’ sideline.

Takkarist McKinley, DE

Takkarist McKinley and the Cleveland Browns have a little bit of history. In the past season, the Browns tried to acquire McKinley four times. For Cleveland, the fifth time was the charm. The defensive end, previously with the Atlanta Falcons and Las Vegas Raiders, is joining the Browns for the 2021 season and brings promising talent. McKinley has has struggled with previous injuries, but his aggressiveness on the field and experience working on both sides will add to the Browns’ desired versatility. In addition to McKinley’s ability to attack, he also has shown he has great vision when it comes to closing the pocket and minimizing the quarterback’s time to span the field.

Next Steps in Browns Offseason

While the Cleveland Browns have acquired these three valuable free agents, the search does not stop there. Although the most active part of free agency has passed, there are still potential opportunities for the Browns to add more talent to the team. Ironically enough, Cleveland is the host of the 2021 NFL Draft. Not that this generally impacts who the Browns will pick, but having all eyes on Cleveland should give the organization a boost of confidence.


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