The Duel

3 Browns Poised to Break Out Under New Head Coach Kevin Stefanski

Zach Brunner
Three Browns poised to break out under Kevin Stefanski.
Three Browns poised to break out under Kevin Stefanski. / Jason Miller/Getty Images
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The Cleveland Browns found themselves in a familiar situation this offseason, as they searched for yet another new head coach. The team decided to go with then-Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, who was in the running before Cleveland hired Freddie Kitchens.

Stefanski looks to bring stability to the Browns organization, as well as innovation to the Cleveland offense. With him at the helm, these three Browns players are poised to break out this season.

1. Baker Mayfield, QB

Baker Mayfield looks to get over the hump in his third season.
Baker Mayfield looks to get over the hump in his third season. / Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Having a competent coach and play caller in Stefanksi gets third-year quarterback Baker Mayfield something he has not yet had in the NFL. Stefanski will hold his players accountable, coaching them into a disciplined, cohesive team. A team that is capable of giving Mayfield time up front. He coached Kirk Cousins to his best career season last year in Minnesota, and he could do the same for Mayfield in his third pro season.

2. David Njoku, TE

David Njoku running on the field before a game against the Detroit Lions.
David Njoku running on the field before a game against the Detroit Lions. / Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

David Njoku has, to this point, been a disappointment in Cleveland. While not all of that is his fault (poor coaching and injuries), the Browns did sign Austin Hooper to a massive contract this offseason, placing doubt in Njoku's future in Cleveland. However, Stefanski loves using two tight end sets, which should provide Njoku plenty of opportunity to make an impact in the passing game despite Hooper's arrival. Not to mention, Njoku is coming into the season in the best shape of his life and motivated to prove he belongs. He could be in for a major bounce-back season.

3. Odell Beckham Jr., WR

Odell Beckham Jr. had a career-low 55.6 percent catch rate last season.
Odell Beckham Jr. had a career-low 55.6 percent catch rate last season. / Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Odell Beckham Jr. spent much of his first season in Cleveland asking opposing teams to trade for him. While his antics were dialed down, his stats were too. He had a career-low 55.6 percent catch rate last season. As Mayfield improves, OBJ will too. Stefanski also knows how to make two talented wide receivers successful alongside each other, as shown by Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen in Minnesota.


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