The Cleveland Browns hope the signing of Ogbonnia Okoronkwo finally answers the question of who will cause havoc up front opposite Myles Garrett.
The edge rusher played his first four seasons with the Los Angeles Rams as a rotational player before getting his first consistent chance at playing time last season with the Houston Texans. Okoronkwo ran with the opportunity, netting 5.0 sacks and repeatedly getting into the backfield with a high motor and increasing rush diversity.
The Browns scooped the 27-year-old on a three-year, $19 million deal to pair with Defensive Player of the Year candidate Garrett. Okoronkwo said on Wednesday his skill set complements the former No. 1 overall pick well.
"I think that his speed off the edge is amazing. It's second to none," he said. "His bend is also second to none. I think where I can complement him is a lot of people talk about my spin move, but I think my long arm and my ability to crush the pocket and disrupt the pocket is one of my biggest attributes. As he is rushing the edge and flying off the edge with all of that speed as I crush the pocket and just make the quarterback uncomfortable and escape in ways that he is not used to, I think that will just open it up for Myles more."
With attention paid to Garrett, Okoronkwo should have a ton of opportunities to work one-on-one on the opposite side. The Browns hoped Jadeveon Clowney would make noise in that spot, but after two seasons, the club is moving in a different direction.
The fit in new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's scheme is also the ideal system for Okoronkwo to continue his ascent. It's a system that has seen many natural edge rushers shine, particularly the type with Okoronkwo's relentless effort.
"With coach Schwartz, just traditionally, D-ends have a lot of success in his defense -- high sack numbers and high production. I am really excited about that," he said. "Playing on the other side of Myles Garrett, I think it speaks for itself. He has been one of the best pass rushers in the league year in and year out. Being able to play alongside him will open up a lot of things for me so I am excited about that, as well."
After beginning his career as a fifth-round pick who played sparingly early, Okoronkwo said that experience molded him into a player who battles every rep.
"I think that it made me a better player because it just showed me how to make the most out of my opportunities," he said. "When I was getting about five to 10 snaps, what can I do in those five to 10 snaps, instead of complaining about why I am not getting 20-30? I feel like it just made me more of an efficient player. I was a pass rush specialist for the Rams. I feel like I made the most out of those snaps that I got. Moving forward, now that I have a lot of snaps, I treat it the same way. I try to just make the most out of all of those snaps and be as efficient as possible."
If he continues making the most of every snap, the Browns may have finally found a running mate for Garrett with staying power.