ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Browns interim head coach Gregg Williams is surprised that Jevon Kearse's rookie record of 14.5 sacks, set in 1999, still stands.
But he won't be surprised if Bradley Chubb breaks that record this season.
"I would have thought it would have been gone by now," said Williams, who served as Kearse's defensive coordinator that season, on Tuesday. "But that's a really cool record for Chubb to be chasing, and hopefully we'll see if he can get it."
Williams certainly won't want Chubb to get any closer to that record this Saturday as the Browns visit Broncos Stadium at Mile High, but he has a great appreciation for what Chubb has been able to accomplish 13 games into his NFL career. But Williams hasn't just been impressed with what Chubb has done in a Broncos uniform. That feeling goes all the way to what Chubb did during his outstanding career at North Carolina State.
Leading up to the NFL Draft, Williams zeroed in on Chubb as a potential pick with the Browns' No. 4 overall selection. Chubb had drawn rave reviews from Jim Washburn, who helped prepare him for the draft. Washburn had previously worked as a defensive line coach under Williams, and the two remain close friends.
"[I] really liked [Chubb] coming out," Williams said. "[Washburn] thought the world of him, and he gave me all the information I needed."
The Browns worked out Chubb twice in the lead up to the draft, Williams said, but the team ended up going in a different direction, and Chubb fell to the Broncos with the No. 5 pick.
"I think he's a great fit to what is being done out there with Denver, [and] he would have been a great fit for us too," Williams said. "At the time, we needed defensive back help, and we [ended] up taking Denzel Ward, but I'd have loved to have had both of those guys here if it would have worked out."
The Browns selecting Ward and the Broncos taking Chubb seems to have worked out well for both teams. Ward is tied for second among rookies with three interceptions, and Chubb leads all rookies with 12 sacks.
"I was excited [that we selected Chubb], absolutely," Head Coach Vance Joseph said Tuesday. "But Ward's been a great pick for them. ... They didn't miss on Ward, obviously we didn't miss on Chubb. I'm just excited to have Chubb in our fold. He fits what we do on defense. He's an outside big edge rusher. That fits what we do."
Williams isn't the only member of the Browns who has plenty of familiarity with Chubb, though. Quarterback Baker Mayfield, this year's first-overall pick, got to know Chubb during the draft process and has come away similarly impressed.
"Bradley's a great guy and obviously very talented," Mayfield said Tuesday. "Everything else speaks for itself. His play this year, I don't think, to anybody, is a surprise. He's been playing great, creating huge plays for that defense, and adding another presence on the other side of that line is [something] I'm guessing Von [Miller] is very happy about."
The numbers back up Mayfield's words. Miller and Chubb's combined 25.5 sacks this season lead all NFL teammate duos.
Now Mayfield will be their next target as they try to add to that total.