Cleveland Browns 4 Round Mock Draft. Predictions and Preferences.

It’s March 13th, 2019. NFL fans around the globe are anxious about the first day of free agency. It has become a holiday for football fans for several years now, but particularly for Cleveland Browns fans. It tends to be the only consistent time the Browns look good in front of the rest of the league. They’ll walk away with 2 or 3 of the top 10 free agents in hopes these players can change their environment for good. Little did the fans know, the Browns were about to make their big move the night before the new offseason began.

Right before many fans went to bed that night, news broke that shook Cleveland, the NFL, and all the world of sports. The Browns just traded for star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. This would be the biggest name in professional sports to come to Cleveland since LeBron James returned in 2014. Christmas came early to The Land. Browns fans began fantasizing about another championship parade for Cleveland. This time in February with the streets filled with orange and brown. The float with the team is coming down Euclid Avenue and fans cheer as Baker Mayfield lifts the Lombardi Trophy to the sky. It would finally happen!! The time of suffering for the Dawg Pound is over!! It’s our turn! Right?!

Right?!

Well, hopefully one day soon.

It’s December 29th, 2019. Browns fans continue to guzzle down alcohol with their dinner to help ease the pain of a disappointing season. The hopes for a Super Bowl title will have to wait another year. The team only won 6 games and didn’t make the playoffs for what would be the 17th straight season. They ended their 2019 campaign with a loss to the 1-14 Cincinnati Bengals.

Local news erupts during the evenings hours. Owner Jimmy Haslam has fired head coach Freddie Kitchens after one season. This would mean for many of the players it would be their 4th different coach in 3 seasons. But this time, it seems the players are very upbeat about the move. A few days later, general manager John Dorsey resigns. Cleveland would face another Haslam full reset.

It’s March 20th, 2020. The COVID-19 epidemic has cancelled all sporting events. Cleveland sports fans saw the Cavaliers’ season come to a halt and the Indians having to delay Opening Day. New head coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry have the opportunity to bring the city hope again. The new regime was already different from the others. This Browns team had answer at quarterback and star power many teams would love to acquire. They just needed to fill the rest of the puzzle of what would hopefully be a consistent winner. Easier said then done.

Berry and Stefanski hit the ground running in free agency. They added key veterans to both the offensive line and the defense. They gave Baker Mayfield another offensive weapon in Austin Hooper, who became the highest paid tight end in NFL history when he signed. And just like many other offseasons, the fans were starting to become optimistic again. Once again, the Browns make Cleveland proud. At least for the time being.

Now comes the biggest challenge for the new regime: Draft Day. The past two drafts, John Dorsey was able to find a handful of impactful players that would help change the course of the franchise. However, he also made some bad picks in the mid-rounds that would cost the team an opportunity to add more quality talent to an overall strong roster. Not every team is going to get all their picks right, but the better teams walk away making the best of their picks. It’s been a long time since Cleveland had an overall great draft.

Cleveland’s offseason priority should always be to capitalize on the draft. This draft could be one of the most important moments for the young careers of Kevin Stefanski and Andrew Berry. They have the pieces to be a playoff team now, but need more talent to help guarentee it happens. If they want to see that championship parade sometime in the next 3 years, it starts here. Here my predictions and preferences for the first 4 rounds of the Cleveland Browns 2020 draft:

Key Additions: TE Austin Hooper, T Jake Conklin, FB Andy Janovich, LB B.J. Goodson, QB Case Keenum, CB Donovan Olumba, DT Andrew Billings, S Karl Joseph, CB Kevin Johnson, and DE Adrian Clayborn.

Key Departures: LB Christian Kirksey, LB Joe Schobert, S Damarius Randall, CB TJ Carrie, TE Ricky Seals-Jones, and S Morgan Burnett.

Key Needs: LT, RG, LB, S, and WR

Browns, Round 1 Pick 10

**TRADE**

Browns send the 10th and the 97th overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for the 21st, 53rd, and the 168th pick along with a 2021 1st rounder.

Making a mock draft is similar to making predictions in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. You think you have a somewhat idea what will happen, and one trade or selection completely throws most of it off. Not that anyone was going to get a multi round prediction 100% correct anyway. Rarely I include trades for the sake of trying not to over complicate things, but this year I’m pretty certain we will see one when the Browns are on the clock.

Let me explain this trade. Browns are sitting in a pretty position in this draft. The mainstream analysts will go on and on about the quarterback class in this draft. What you haven’t heard enough is how deep this year is for offensive tackles and wide receivers. From the 1st round to the 4th round it is loaded with potential starter talent. When the Browns are on the clock they have a critical choice. They have a major hole at left tackle that hasn’t been filled since Joe Thomas retired. There is a good chance that one if not two of the top offensive tackles will be taken before their pick. On the other hand, all the wide receivers are still in play. They could select the top receiver and pair them with Beckham and Landry. Think about it. That’s tempting. Baker wouldn’t know where to start with all that talent. However, the Browns have multiple needs and could use more picks. It is in the front office best interest to trade down.

In Philadelphia, their front office has been working for a while to find Carson Wentz a dynamic wide receiver. There has been plenty of trade talk but no luck. They decide it’s time to go all in and make one of the biggest splashes of the weekend. They want to trade up and select the next star wide receiver that will help bloster their offense for the next 5 or more years. They are moving up 11 spots so they have to send a hefty package of picks to tempt the Browns in trading down to the 21st pick. They will need to present the Browns a similar offer the Atlanta Falcons gave Cleveland in 2011 when they moved up from 27th to 6th to select Julio Jones. Eagles call the Browns to make their aggressive move to get their guy. They will send the 21st pick, their 1st rounder in 2021, their 3rd round pick, and their 5th round pick from New England. Cleveland offers their 97th pick from Houston in the deal for Eagles 2nd round pick instead of taking their 3rd rounder. Philly accepts the edited trade offer and the deal is done. Eagles will land either Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb and the city of brotherly love will celebrate. Fast forward a little later, the Browns are on the clock at the 21st pick.

Browns, Round 1 Pick 21: T Josh Jones, Houston

One of the top reasons the Browns had such a disappointing season in 2019 was the 29th ranked offensive line. Despite Nick Chubb’s Pro Bowl performance, the offensive line was tough to watch. The Browns can’t walk away from this draft without an answer at left tackle. If they do, you can already write of the next season. Sure you could trade for Trent Williams who wants way too much money or you could offer Jason Peterson a short term deal, but I think it would be best to find an affordable long term answer now.

Jones’ name has remained under the radar as far as offensive tackles go in this draft. An aggressive player with a high motor that gives 100% on every play. No quit in style. He was recruited by former Houston coach Tom Herman and stayed after Herman left for the University of Texas job. His teammates appreciated his loyalty to the program and voted to make him captain his senior season.

Analysts and scouts have stressed he has serious potential but needs to get stronger. Fortunately, Kevin Stefanski hired one of the best offensive line coaches in Bill Callahan who can help prepare Jones for the pro level. He has solid speed but needs to improve on his foot work.

So out of all the offensive line prospects, what made me believe the Browns would select Josh Jones here? Andrew Berry has stated recently he wants to build the team around football players that fit well on and off the field. Jones’ personality and playing style already fits the mold Berry is describing. An upbeat player who is pushing himself and his teammates to perform at the top of their game each day. That includes practice. A perfect locker room guy. On top of that, he is heavily favored in the analytics department. Pro Football Focus rated him the 14th overall player in the class and 4th among offensive line men. Jones is also 1 out of 3 potential 1st round offensive tackles that primary played the left side last season.

There are a few other options here including Boise State tackle Ezra Cleveland and Bama safety Xavier McKinney. Let’s say for a second I’m wrong about the trade with the Eagles and they only trade down a few spots, is Josh Jones still a serious option for Cleveland at that point? Absolutely, but they may trade down again to add some more picks and then select him.

Browns, 2nd Round Pick 41: WR Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado

I do believe Cleveland will be picking a receiver early in the draft. Outside the LSU brothers they don’t have any serious depth. Shenault is 6’1 with great mix of speed, size, and strength. Highlight reel hands and averaged 24 yards a reception. On paper he looks like a quality addition. The only unfortunate thing about him is the comparisons he’s drawing which include Sammy Watkins and Greg Little. Two college receivers that burned competition in space but didn’t develop well in the NFL.

Browns take a chance on Shenault due to his size and hands. His explosiveness could be useful when defenses are covering Landry and Beckham close. Giving Baker another playmaker on the field should make defenses frustrated.

Browns, 2nd Round Pick 53 (from Eagles): DT Justin Madubuike, Texas A&M

Browns defensive line faced injury issues last season which hurt them the last 6 games. Andrew Berry has added depth via free agency for both defensive end and tackle, but they could use a younger, long-term option on the inside. Sheldon Richardson had a solid first season with Cleveland but who knows how much he has left in the tank. Larry Ogunjobi continues to stay consistent and former Bengal Andrew Billings signed a one year deal. Madubuike is undersized for an NFL defensive tackle but what scouts like about him is his speed and athleticism. One of the better defensive linemen in the class when it comes to pass rush and containing scrambling quarterbacks. Some analysts believe he could be more productive if moved to defensive end. He brings plenty of options but also has plenty of work to prepare for the next level.

Browns, Round 3 Pick 74: LB Akeem Davis Gaither, Appalachian State

As of right now, the Browns have 2 for sure starting linebackers in Mack Wilson and newly acquired B.J. Goodson. Gaither is a tad undersized but makes it up with his speed and athleticism. He had at least 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for a loss in both his junior and senior season. A Texas kid who was a former 5 star high school recruit. He would be useful on the outside to help with the pass rush. An explosive prospect that could help Cleveland in the long run.

Browns, Round 4 Pick 115: CB Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi St.

Cleveland added more cornerback back depth in free agency but could use a younger, long-term option. Terrence Mitchell isn’t guarenteed to be on the team on week 1 and Denzel Ward continues to deal with injury issues. Dantzler was one of the toughest cornerbacks in the SEC. He gave both Alabama and LSU issues last season. His man to man coverage ability is off the charts. Analytics department really digs his potential. Some analysts believe he could be picked higher than the 4th round but his tackling issues could make him drop to the lower rounds. There are some questions whether or not he would be a better dime corner than an every down option. If available, Browns take the chance on him here.

Alright, now it’s my turn to be the Browns the first four rounds.

Me, Round 1 Pick 10: T Andrew Thomas, Georgia

Once upon a time, there was a Browns general manager named Phil Savage. He sat in the war room as an assistant gm to the Baltimore Ravens in 1996 when they selected soon-to-be Hall of Famer Jonathan Odgen. The attitude in the room with that pick was to get someone to solidify the offensive line and would be part of the team the next 10 years. Fast forward to 2007 when Savage was running the Browns war room. They are sitting with the 3rd overall pick with some critical roster holes to fill. Despite a questionable quarterback situation, the front office came down to two decisions, Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson and Wisconsin left tackle Joe Thomas. Little did they know they were deciding between two soon-to-be Hall of Famers. When it came down to decision time, Savage told the room if they didn’t solidify the offensive line it wouldn’t matter what else they did that offseason. They wanted a permanent answer for their left tackle position and someone who would be there for the next 10 years. After the Browns selected Joe Thomas with the 3rd overall pick, they went on to have the best offensive line in 2007. Savage’s era in Cleveland did not end well, but he remains one of the better scouts at evaluating talent in the league. His comment about solidifying the offensive line will always remain true when it comes to building a great football team. Browns have not seen an o-line work that well since. Well, it’s time to change that.

Browns haven’t found their answer to left tackle since Joe Thomas retired. It absolutely hurt Baker Mayfield’s game last season and it will continue to until there is some legit protection there. I’m honestly not against trading down due to the Browns have multiple holes that need to be filled. But it is mandatory to find the answer to left tackle this coming draft weekend. If you can find a guarenteed answer at ten then lock him up.

Andrew Thomas was a force in the SEC. The former teammate of Nick Chubb’s excelled in the run game and was solid in pass protection. In Stefanski’s system the Browns will be running the ball more often than the previous few seasons. You won’t see better run blocker in this class than Thomas. I sat and watched much film on the top tackles in this draft. While Tristian Wirfs and Jedrick Willis are hot names, they struggled in key games. While Andrew Thomas gave Alabama and LSU headaches. They struggled to get through the left edge the whole game. On top of all this, the analytics are in his favor as he is rated the top offensive tackle in the class.

Hypothetically, if a team did want to trade up for the pick and the offer was too good to pass up then I would do it. In that scenario, Alabama safety Xavier McKinney would be my pick and I would trade back up to the 1st round to get either Josh Jones or Ezra Cleveland. But all temptation aside, if I’m the Browns sitting at ten and decide to use the pick, I’m putting a Thomas on the left side again. You’re welcome, Baker.

Me, Round 2 Pick 41: WR Tee Higgins, Clemson

I agree with getting a receiver here early in the draft. You need all the receiver depth you can get in this league. Higgins is 6’4 target with decent speed and possession hands. He came in clutch for Clemson down the stretch. He would fit well as the second receiver so the Browns could move Landry in the slot.

Me, Round 3 Pick 74: LB Malik Harrison , Ohio State

As previously mentioned, Browns have a hole at linebacker. Harrison is the makings of a sexy pick. Most Browns fans are Buckeyes fans, he hits really hard, and could fit in either linebacker position. There is some concern about his size but that’s what they said about my dude Mack Wilson last year. Bring in a young force with plenty of potential that will be a fan favorite for the next 5 years or more.

Me, Round 3 Pick 97 (from Texans): S Jeremy Chinn, Southern Illinois

Every year there is a draft prospect I really like that could go as high as the first round or as low as the sixth. This year, it’s Jeremy Chinn. I have seen some mock drafts where he falls around the 3rd or 4th round. I did see one claiming the Tennessee Titans were drafting him with their first pick. No matter where he goes, he has the physical gifts to be a dynamic safety in the NFL. The issue that’s putting his stock in limbo is his extremely low football IQ. Usually, that is something I would ask the Browns to move on from a prospect at that point. They’ve been hurt enough by that in the past. But not many of these players with low football IQs have the skill set this kid provides. Cleveland needs a long term option at safety and more playmakers on defense. Draft him and have him spend extra time with coaches, veterans, and in the film room. In the case he is not available here, I would go with Kentucky guard Logan Stenberg.

Me, Round 4 Pick 115: LB Joe Bachie, Michigan State

Back in 2016, the Browns were linebacker needy and there was a Big Ten prospect out of Wisconsin named Joe Schobert I really liked. Watching his film I just thought he would fit perfectly in Cleveland. As luck would have it, the Browns agreed with me and took him in the 4th round. He was an impact player and a leader in the locker room. Unfortunately, Andrew Berry was unwilling to meet his price and he signed with Jacksonville. I’m encouraging the Browns again to go with a Big Ten linebacker in the 4th round. Bachie meets the standard of a Browns linebacker. Hard hitting, leader, and has played his whole playing career in nasty mid-west weather. A group with him, Malik Harrison, B.J. Goodson, and Mack Wilson gives the linebacker group a serious chance. Other options to consider with this pick or later rounds include Oregon guard Shane Lemieux and Fresno State guard Netane Muti. Browns still need answer for right guard.

Cleveland Browns 2020 Offseason Needs

Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stafanski photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Alright. You know the story! Browns owner Jimmy Haslam pushes the reset button AGAIN! You have a new coach, general manager, and direction. The players try to find a way to manage, the other fans make fun of the team, the local sports analysts act as comedians towards the whole thing, and the fans resume excitement when training camp starts as if nothing catastrophic happened. Again, you know the story. The fans will be sitting through yet another Haslam experiment.

However, it’s still the Cleveland Browns and somehow we still care. Maybe it’s because instead of back to back 4 win seasons the team has had at least 6 wins the past 2 seasons. Maybe it’s because they have the quarterback with the most commercials since Peyton Manning. Or maybe it’s because the defender who slammed a Steeler with their own helmet is eligible to return. Honestly, I don’t 100% know why we care so much. I won’t tell you Kevin Stefanski and Andrew Berry are a for sure thing, but I can tell you the team is a good offseason away from the playoffs. Still one of the most talented rosters in the league. They just needed some better leadership. So here’s a quick breakdown of their top offseason needs:

OFFENSIVE LINE

There is a good reason I capitalized this one. Despite Nick Chubb’s impressive season and Baker Mayfield being the first Browns quarterback since Tim Couch to start all 16 games, the o-line was trash. Rated 29th overall in the league and was the biggest eye sore on the team all season. Despite all the praise the former general manager got, offensive line was never John Dorsey’s strong point. For starters, the team lacked depth from the beginning. After injuries the team struggled to keep any protection for Mayfield, not that it made much of a difference anyway. They drafted one lineman and he was injured most of the season. The rest were players just fighting to keep their careers going. Looking ahead, they have 2 starters worth keeping around, Pro Bowler Joe Bitonio and center Jason Tretter, who signed a 3 year extension in the middle of the season. Other than that they don’t really have anyone. Chris Hubbard is on an expiring contract, Greg Robinson could go to prison for 20 years, and anyone who played right guard last season is pretty much cut.

Recent reports have stated the team could potentially spend large amounts of money on a few free agents to improve the line. In the past, they have had success with signing veteran o-linemen to long, expensive deals. But now and then you’ll get that one that doesn’t pan out. Browns need to avoid that at all cost, but still should spend for quality. The draft has a few star potential left tackles in the first round this year. They’re still looking for a permanent replacement for Joe Thomas. Some big trade rumors have emerged about Redskins’ Trent Williams and Eagles’ Jason Peters, but I wouldn’t bank on either one happening. Then again, I doubted the Odell Beckham rumors too and looked what happened. Bottom line, Cleveland needs to pick 3 new starters and plenty of back up options if they want to see this line succeed right away.

Safety

During the Hugh Jackson era, safety was a big concern. Teams were making passing plays over the weak backfield like it was nothing. When John Dorsey took over it got fixed. Now it’s an issue again. Damarious Randall will test free agency and most likely will be gone. It is a toss up whether Andrew Berry decides to retain Morgan Burnett or not. Juston Burris and Sheldrick Redwine were decent during the last few games of the season, but didn’t show too much promise as long term options. They don’t want to overlook this position. Every great team has a duo of safeties that help contain the pass game. Unless the Browns want to get lit up again like in 2016 and 17, I suggest grab a few guys that can consistently hold down the role.

Linebacker

Browns will be back to using 3 linebackers and, unfortunately, Joe Schobert is on his way out. Mack Wilson is the only guaranteed starter left on the team. Christian Kirkseyhas been cut and signed with the Packers. Grabbing a few free agents and trying to find a gem in the draft would be one way to go. A good mix of veteran leadership and youth tends to go well for defenses. Browns could use all the help they can get on the defensive side of the ball.

A 3rd and 4th Wide Receiver

Browns marched into the 2019 season believing to have the best wide receiver group in the NFL. Turned out to be a little disappointing. Odell Beckham Jr had a decent season and his best friend Jarvis Landry was a Pro Bowler again. However, they were the only receivers that really did anything all season. Rishard Higgins never really saw the field and isn’t expected to return this season. Antonio Callaway was cut, failed another drug test, and signed with the XFL. Damion Ratley made some noise but never got too many chances. These days, the 3rd wide receiver is critical for most offenses. With all the injuries, it’s important to have mad depth at all positions especially the ones who get knocked around the most. Both Beckham and Landry had surgeries recently. It would be fitting to make sure there is quality back up in case they would need more procedures.

Backup Quarterback

One of the biggest fears for Browns fans is to have the team go on a run and suddenly Baker takes a hit that takes him out for long period of time, or worse, the season. Browns dodged a major bullet last season with Baker staying healthy. Garrett Gilbert was the only backup option and had very little experience at the pro level.

Thankfully, recent reports state that the new front office has signing quarterback number 2 as a high priority when free agency opens. Case Keenum, Chase Daniels, and Marcus Mariota have been a few names mentioned as options. Looking back at the past few seasons, it should be noted when the Eagles won the Super Bowl with Nick Foles in 2018 and the Titans going to the AFC Championship with Ryan Tannehill this past January. The right man could save an entire season should they need him.

Beef Up the Defensive Line

Watching the Browns defensive line was like a rollercoaster. Some games went well and others not so much. Myles Garrett had a disappointing season but was suspended the last 6 games of the season. Olivier Vernon was injured much of the season but didn’t perform up to par when he did play. Sheldon Richardson was solid on and off the field. One of the few bright spots on the line. Larry Ogunjobi put up almost the exact same statistics as he did in 2018.

Last draft, John Dorsey did not take advantage of a deep defensive line class. The team is entering the offseason with minimal depth and potentially a need for a new starting defensive end. Every top NFL team has a strong front 7 on the defensive side of the ball. It is vital to address these positions if they plan on competing for playoff position. Otherwise, they’ll continue to struggle to pressure opposing team quarterbacks and have issues against the run.

Backup Cornerbacks

One of John Dorsey’s strong points was giving his teams quality cornerback depth. It had helped the Browns plenty while dealing with Denzel Ward’s consistent injuries. As of right now, Ward and Greedy Williams are penciled as the starters with veteran Terrance Mitchell as the only reliable backup. It isn’t for sure Mitchell will make the team after the preseason and Ward’s multiple concussions give the organization plenty of concern about his future. It would be wise to grab a couple quality free agents and a sleeper in the draft to help be prepared for anything. It’s a passing league so they need to have as talented of a cornerback squad as possible.

Resign Kareem Hunt

Running back careers seem to be getting shorter with every new generation. Browns have a special player in Nick Chubb. But every good back needs a reliable backup. One of the few things that did go right for the Browns last year was the Chubb and Hunt rotation. It was weapon that irritated defenses and was, unfortunately, not used enough. John Dorseyz who was the reason Hunt signed with the team, is gone. But the Cleveland kid wants to stay home the rest of his career.

There are many different directions Andrew Berry could go with this, but hear me out. Hunt is still young, he is healthy with no history of injuries at the pro level, he wants to make his hometown proud, he produced when he played, and he seems to have a great relationship with the other players. There is a case to be made that he may go cheaper than many expected 2 seasons ago when he was tearing it up in Kansas City. Chubb likes working along side him. Seriously?! What’s the argument against it?! I am aware there was a recent legal problem, but nothing major. Keep him before he goes somewhere where he can hurt you.

*On March 16th, Browns put a 2nd round tender on Hunt.

Tight End depth

One of the few things the Browns have done right since their return in 1999 is always having a reliable tight end or two. Last season, Austin Seferian-Jenkins came out as the top tight end until his injury. Former 1st rounder David Njoku can’t stay healthy and has burned bridges within the organization. Recently, Demetrius Harris was cut. Keeping Jenkins makes sense but they need to make sure they have plenty of backup in case he goes down again. In Minnesota, Stefanski preferred to use blocking tight ends with possession hands for the red zone. Kyle Rudolph thrived in his system. It would be best for Cleveland to sign a veteran or two and draft a young prospect.

*On March 16th, Browns agreed to terms with former Atlanta Falcon Austin Hooper, making him the best paid tight end in the league.

Cleveland Browns: Top 10 Offseason Acquisitions

After a successful offseason, the Cleveland Browns are set to start training camp. Fans are hopeful that this will be the season that ends the 17 year playoff drought and the start of a dynasty. With all that being said, here are my top 10 additions to the team roster:

10. K Austin Seibert

Last season was possibly the worst season for kickers in NFL history. More extra points and field goals were missed than in previous seasons, and there were more kickers consistently on the injury list. That in itself showed the importance and value of a good kicker in the game.

Browns have not had an established starting kicker since they let Phil Dawson (who is currently a free agent) go in 2013. Four of the Browns losses last season were by 3 points or less. Obviously, the Browns entered the offseason trying to find a long term answer for the position.

Austin Seibert had much success at Oklahoma, but just because the Browns used a draft pick on him does not hand him the job. He will have to battle it out against last season’s starter Greg Joseph, who came in mid-season after Zane Gonzalez was cut. Seibert has great kicking accuracy, and holds the college football record for most extra points and field goal attempts. Only time will tell if Seibert can be a new fan favorite in Cleveland.

9. S Morgan Burnett

Browns had a hole at safety after trading Jabrill Peppers to the Giants. Since then they have added plenty of options. They traded for Eric Murray from the Cheifs, they drafted Sheldrick Redwine out of Miami, and Jermaine Whitehead turned some heads at mini camp. But let’s not forget about a key veteran they added in free agency in Morgan Burnett.

In case you don’t know the story, Burnett started for the Pittsburgh Steelers last season and decided he didn’t want to deal with the team’s locker room issues any longer. He demanded a trade but ended up getting waived instead. As a result, he signed a three year deal with the good guys in Cleveland! Mainly because he was familiar with the front office that drafted him in Green Bay.

As of right now, it is a toss up who starts opposite of Damarius Randall. But Burnett brings experience and leadership that can help the Browns on the defensive side of the ball. If he does indeed make the week 1 roster, he may have an important role on the team.

8. DT Sheldon Richardson

Browns needed to add some power next to Larry Ogunjobi, and they did just that. Richardson is joining the Browns after a solid season with the Minnesota Vikings where he registered 48 total tackles including 4.5 sacks. Browns defensive line was inconsistent blocking up the middle last season. Hopefully adding Richardson will change that.

7. LB Mack Wilson

I must warn you, I’m being very bias with this one. Wilson was one of my favorite players in the draft. When the Browns selected Sione Takitaki in the 3rd round, I thought for sure Wilson was not in the Browns’ plans. As luck would have it, he slipped to the 5th round where Cleveland selected him.

Wilson may not do much early in the regular season but in due time he will be a fan favorite. Above average speed and field awareness for a linebacker his size. He stood out among rookies in minicamp. Hopefully my expectations are right and fans get to see what I’ve been preaching about since the draft.

6. TE Demetrius Harris

Possibly the most underrated acquisition this offseason. Browns hands down have one of the best receiving groups in the league, and Harris could be a secret weapon for Baker. In Kansas City, he was mainly used for the red zone where he caught 3 touchdowns last season. But in Freddie Kitchens offensive scheme it will be easy to assume he could take on a bigger role. Possibly similar to what Darren Fells did last season. At 6’7 with better speed and hands than most tight ends, it’s obvious why Harris would be favorable target down the stretch.

5. CB Greedy Williams

Browns 1st pick in the draft did not come until the 2nd round due to the Odell Beckham trade. John Dorsey hit a home run drafting Denzel Ward with the 4th overall pick in the 2018 draft. He was determined to find a long term starter on the opposite end of Ward. With many cornerbacks already taken in the first 2 rounds, Williams somehow slipped to the Browns on the 46th overall pick.

Williams was an All-SEC player with 71 tackles, 8 interceptions, and 28 pass deflections in the 2 seasons he started in LSU. He played all 24 games.

It is still up in the air if Williams earns a starting spot right out of the gate. With Terrance Mitchell and T.J. Carrie also in the mix, coaching staff may lean towards starting the season off with more experienced players. However, if he has fantastic camp and preseason, he could convince the team to start him week one just like Ward did last season.

4. DE Oliver Vernon

Browns needed to give Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi some more help on the defensive line. They gave them a big boost adding Vernon in the mix. He is coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he had 23 tackles 7 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.

Vernon was overshadowed by the Odell Beckham hype, but provides an extremely important part to the team’s success. Browns defense was inconsistent pressuring opposing quarterbacks last season. They’re coverage squad was worn down as a result. With Vernon on the opposite side of Garrett, it should create a nightmare for offensive lines.

3. RB Kareem Hunt

Even though Browns fell short of making the playoffs, they made headlines last January when they signed troubled running back Kareem Hunt. Every football fan knows the story. Hunt was having a memorable season with the Kansas City Chiefs, when videos surfaced of him committing violent actions towards a woman. As a result, Chiefs decided to part ways with their young star leaving his career in question. Lucky for him, the guy who drafted him was willing to give him a second chance with his new team.

Hunt will start the season off with an 8 game suspension due to his actions. That will make it about a full year since he last took the field. Since his signing he has pushed himself to better himself. One more bad slip could cost him his career.

This is a low risk, high reward situation for Cleveland. They’re not paying him money players of his caliber get and they have another star studded back in Nick Chubb. Best case scenario, after the suspension Hunt helps lead his hometown team to a playoff run. Worst case scenario, he is rusty and not to his peak in ability in which Chubb would take over. There is also a chance it could be Josh Gordon all over again and another fine player destroys everything he worked for.

But I would like a happy ending here and I believe in grace. The organization has his back and there is no doubt he wants to join the hype with his city. The positives are he is working hard on himself and he’s healthy. Any team in the league would benefit to have his talent.

2. WR Odell Beckham Jr.

I know, you’re probably shocked he’s not number 1, but I’ll get to that. A few seasons ago the Browns didn’t have a consistent realiable wide receiver. The first trade John Dorsey did as general manager was trade for Jarvis Laundry. He then drafted Antonio Callaway and the team continued to use Rashard Higgins as the second receiver. Even though things looked better on the field, Dorsey knew Baker Mayfield would need more weapons if the offense was going to succeed. Last March, Dorsey put all his chips in and acquired one of the top receivers in the league.

Along with all the hype, there are also plenty of questions surrounding Beckham’s new situation. Here are things football fans have to remember:

1. He knows his teammates. Landry is a close friend and he has been hanging around Mayfield since before he was traded. Before he was a Cleveland Brown he was aware that the team was building something special. The new leadership and direction will help him mentally, on and off the field.

2. Despite some of the drama in New York, he did not give up. We have seen superstars before when things get messy in an organization. They refuse to play, they whine to the media, and they demand trades. Beckham was the exact opposite. He tried to make it work. The hustle on every play, trying to connect with players and coaches, and do whatever he could to improve the direction of the team. He signed long term to be a Giant for his career and lead the team to their next super bowl victory. Fortunately for the Browns, Giants had other ideas.

3. Beckham is about winning and only winning! This is a guy who still hasn’t let go of the junior high basketball championship he lost. It’s win or go home, which is the attitude every successful NFL franchise has to have. The only thing on his mind is winning Cleveland a super bowl. The biggest star athlete since LeBron James returned in 2014. Can OBJ do the same thing James did in 2016?!

1. Coach Freddie Kitchens

I know he isn’t technically a acquisition and he doesn’t play on the field. But given the circumstances, this team needed a head coach more than anything else. Look at every successful winning team in the history of pro football. What did they all have in common? A leader on the sidelines.

A former All-Pro Browns player once told me that the team’s main problem for over a decade was that there were no “football guys” running the team. He was exactly right. They had tried business executives, men knowledgeable about the game, but never anyone who breathed it. When Jimmy Haslam hired John Dorsey, not only was it his first good move but that was the first time since 2002 the team had a front office run by a football guy.

Dorsey had played the game and was head of scouting and player personnel on successful teams. Bottomline, he is a football guy. He knows talent when he sees it and he knows what it takes to create a winning organization.

It took the Browns 30 different starting quarterbacks to find their franchise quarterback. Why? There are many reasons, but what made Baker Mayfield different from all the others? His accuracy? His throws outside the pocket? His vision? All of those really do stand out compared to the others, but there is one thing in particular: he’s a football guy.

Mayfield isn’t just good at throwing a football and reading defenses. He is a leader that helps improve his teammates around him along with himself. He knows the game and what it takes to win. There are skilled quarterbacks that can win you games and lose focus when it matters the most. Then there are quarterbacks that lead dynasties.

Browns are on their 6th new head coach the past decade and 9th since the 1999 revival (not including interims). That is a terrible stretch. No stability. Even though those men loved the game, they were not cut out to be head coaches. Pat Shurmur is the only one out of that group that is currently a head coach somewhere else, but is only entering his second season with the team. Romeo Crennel did get a second chance at head coaching with the Kansas City Chiefs but it was worse than his stint with the Browns.

Freddie Kitchens successful coaching career goes beyond his offensive coordinator duties from last season. He learned under the likes of Nick Saban, Bill Parcel, and Bruce Arians. He worked with many successful assistant coaches as well. When the Browns hired him they were the only team that did not struggle to fill their coaching staff. Many coaches left great situations to join Kitchens. Why? They know him and believe in him. They were also on board with the direction of the front office.

Browns needed a football guy on the sidelines and in the locker room. They got that with hiring Freddie Kitchens. One step closer to bringing back a winning football franchise in Cleveland.

Cleveland Browns 2019 Draft Recap

Cleveland_Browns

For the very first time I decided to write a recap following my Cleveland Browns mock draft. We’ll take a look and see how John Dorsey improved the roster. But first let’s look back on my predictions and preferences.

Players I thought the Browns would draft in the first 4 rounds:

DT Dre’mont Jones, Ohio State (Broncos, Rnd 3, Pick 8)

CB Justin Layne, Michigan State (Steelers, Rnd 3, Pick 20)

G Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin (undrafted, signed with Lions)

For starters, my bold prediction of the Browns trading Duke Johnson and their 3rd round pick to Eagles for their 2nd rounder did not happen. Surprisingly, Browns didn’t trade Johnson at all, and Coach Kitchens expects him at training camp this summer. Not a loss for Cleveland since Johnson is a great weapon to have in the backfield. Both players I thought Cleveland would pick in the 2nd round slipped to the third round. Broncos blossom their defensive line with Jones from THE Ohio State University. One prediction I had was right. If the Browns didn’t pick Layne, the Steelers were going to scoop him up. Not a fan of that. Layne could be valuable in Pittsburgh. I was surprised Benzschawel wasn’t drafted at all. Thought for sure he was a solid Day 3 selection. Browns did not draft o-line until the 6th round with OT Drew Forbes.

Players I wanted the Browns to draft in the first 4 rounds:

LB Mack Wilson, Alabama (Browns, Rnd 5, Pick 17)

CB JoeJuan Williams, Vanderbilt (Patriots, Rnd 2, Pick 13)

T Isaiah Prince, Ohio State (Dolphins, Rnd 6, Pick 30)

Browns grabbed my dude Wilson but not until the 5th round. Bill Belichick saw the potential with Williams and traded up to grab him. I’m calling it, Williams will be a multi Pro Bowler with New England. Prince fell to the near bottom of the 6th round when Miami decided to grab him. A solid pick for the Dolphins that late in the draft.

Day 3 players I encouraged the Browns to consider:

QB Will Grier, West Virginia (Panthers, Rnd 3, Pick 37)

RB Bennie Snell, Kentucky (Steelers, Rnd 4, Pick 20)

DE Joe Jackson, Miami (Cowboys, Rnd 5, Pick 27)

DT Khalen Saunders, Western Illinois (Chiefs, Rnd 3, Pick 21)

EDGE Jalen Jelks, Oregon (Cowboys, Rnd 7, Pick 27)

S Jaquan Johnson, Miami (Bills, Rnd 6, Pick 8)

Panthers got a solid back up picking Grier with their conditional 3rd round pick. It should give Carolina some good insurance for the next few years. God forbid something happens to Newton. I was NOT HAPPY to see Snell go to Pittsburgh. I have preached about his potential since mid-season. To see a player of his caliber go to the rival hurts. Snell went higher than I expected. One thing the Cowboys do well is find defensive gems in the draft and develop them. They continued to do that this past weekend drafting both Jackson and Jelks. They went with power and speed with those picks which will only improve their defensive game in due time. Saunders was picked much earlier than I anticipated, and to a team that will be a major threat to the Browns in the AFC. Chiefs get a potential major weapon next to Frank Clark on that defensive line. Browns did not draft Jaquan Johnson, but did draft his former teammate Sheldrick Redwine. Bills obtained a valuable pick with Johnson in the 6th round. He may not start out of the gate, but I see him making the roster.

Cleveland Browns 2019 Draft Picks:

CB Greedy Williams, LSU (Rnd 2, Pick 14)

I am still shocked Williams slipped this far in the draft. I thought for sure he was going to be picked in the 1st round. Not only that, their were a few cornerbacks taken before him in the 2nd round. Dorsey had to make the aggressive move and trade up a few spots to get their guy. Browns needed to get a long term plan opposite of Denzel Ward. Williams has speed and athletic ability to start in the NFL. He was one of if not the best cornerback in this draft with man coverage. One of the reasons he may have slipped was because of his lack of playing time in college. He did start his sophomore and junior season, but sat out the bowl game for the draft. I think some teams felt they needed to see more before they were sold on him, but I’m just speculating. THEIR LOSS! Browns picked a potential star on the defensive side of the ball. We know fellow LSU Tigers Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry approve.

Pick Grade: A

LB Sione Takitaki, BYU (Rnd 3, Pick 17)

This was an interesting pick right here. Takitaki started his college career on a bad note. Getting in fights, missing practice, and stealing from campus almost ruined his football career. He then settled down with a good woman and left the game for a season to focus on academics. When he returned, his reputation was completely changed and the team made him captain his senior season. He led the Cougars in 2018 with 118 tackles (9 for a loss and 3 sacks). Takitaki has great burst of energy and tackling ability. Something the Browns have struggled with defensively for the past few seasons. However, his lack of speed and use of space in the game need to be recognized. Many scouts saw him as a 7th round pick or an undrafted free agent. There were some that suggested his skills being more valuable on special teams. I trust John Dorsey and I’m rooting for this kid. But in a few years will the team be looking back on this pick and wish they went with someone else? Only time will tell.

Pick Grade: C

S Sheldrick Redwine, Miami (Rnd 4, Pick 17)

I previously mentioned that I really dug Redwine’s former teammate Jaquan Johnson. However, I can’t argue with the Browns here. Redwine was a safer pick that helps add depth in that defensive backfield. He mostly played safety, but also played well at corner for the Hurricanes. That gives the Browns an option to move him around if needed. He has good size, ball awareness, and power to hit receivers. Coaches will work on his ability to close out on receivers and playing with his back to the ball. All in all, a solid pick for Cleveland.

Pick Grade: B

LB Mack Wilson, Alabama (Rnd 5, Pick 17)

It was odd watching Wilson fall to the 5th round, and I thought for sure one of the Browns rivals would snag him. But as luck would have it, the good guys picked him with their first 5th round pick. Freddie Kitchens is a big fan and seized the opportunity to make him a Brown. Many analysts had him as a late 1st round to a mid 2nd round pick. I honestly don’t know what went down in Nashville, but the Browns may have potentially drafted their future starting linebacker with this pick. Wilson is great with the blitz and in coverage. He would fit perfectly in the middle with their 4-3 scheme. I’m going to be biased and say this was the Browns 2nd best pick in the draft next to Greedy Williams.

Pick Grade: A

K Austin Seibert, Oklahoma (Rnd 5, Pick 32)

Browns did something I didn’t think they would do, but I’m glad they did. DRAFTED A KICKER!!! Not just a kicker, but handled Oklahoma’s kickoffs, punts, and placekicker duties during his sophomore season. He’s the whole special teams package! With Oklahoma being the offensive power house they were during his tenure there, he really didn’t get many chances to kick from distance. His longest field goal was 56 in his senior season. Most of his misses were due to bad ball placement. Four out of eight of the Browns losses last season came from 4 points or less. We won’t know until the fall if Seibert works out or not, but Browns needed some options outside of Greg Joseph. We’re still hurting after letting Phil Dawson (who is currently a free agent) go six years ago.

Pick Grade: B

OT Drew Forbes, Southeast Missouri State (Rnd 6, Pick 17)

Browns finally pick an offensive linemen late in the draft. Forbes played left tackle for the Red Hawks. He has been praised for toughness and athletic ability. There is a chance he will be more valuable in the pros at guard than tackle. Forbes will be a project for sure, but if he can continue to bring that determination and toughness to Cleveland, we may see him help protect Baker one day.

Pick Grade: C

CB Donnie Lewis, Tulane (Rnd 7, Pick 7)

If Lewis makes the team in September, it will most likely be on the practice squad. He was great at getting to the ball, but struggled constantly keeping up with receivers. Lewis gave up a high number of touchdowns his whole collegiate career. Browns may use him more on special teams if anything.

Pick Grade: C-

Draft Pros:
Browns entered the draft with lack of depth at linebacker and defensive back. No more! Greedy Williams could potentially start Week 1, but will have competition with Terrance Mitchell and T.J. Carrie. Christian Kirksey, Joe Schobert, and Genard Avery are most likely the starting linebackers as of right now, but that could change with Takitaki and Wilson in the mix. The preseason will decide if Austin Seibert will be part of the Browns 2019 plans. It is vitally important to have a consistent starting kicker on the team. Overall, Dorsey added important building blocks to help continue to mold the team into a winner.

Draft Cons:

There is still plenty of time to address other roster needs either in undrafted free agency and in preseason cuts. I wasn’t concerned that a quarterback was not picked this past weekend, but they need to find a solid backup for Baker. Anything could happen and it is best to be prepared. I was surprised an offensive lineman wasn’t taken until the 6th round. Dorsey did add a few in free agency, but with Zeitler no longer on the team and Austin Corbett’s status unknown, that leaves some concern for the right guard position. Not drafting a defensive linemen was interesting. The starting defensive line is stacked, but it lacks depth on both the sides and interior. There is no for sure replacement for Emmanuel Ogbah at the moment. Hopefully 2018 3rd round pick Chad Thomas can come in and be valuable asset after spending all last season on the practice squad. Anthony Zettel is another option that could fill the void. Only time will tell if Trevon Conley will be able to be a reliable back up to the defensive tackles.

Even though some positions were not addressed during the draft, it’s better to go with talent you believe in as a front office than reach and take a major risk. The Cleveland Browns had a top ten draft if not a top five in the league. Personally, I don’t like to say it but I’m just being honest, I think they were second ranked in the division with Pissburgh having a slightly better draft. That team just east of Cleveland drafted more players that will be able to make an immediate impact sooner than later. But my opinion could change with time just like everyone else. All in all, it was another successful draft from John Dorsey and his crew.

Draft Grade: B+

Cleveland Browns needs going into the 2019 offseason

For the first time in what feels like an eternity, the Cleveland Browns ended their season with plenty of optimism. Rookie of the Year winner Baker Mayfield put on a performance Cleveland hasn’t seen from a star rookie since LeBron James. He helped change an environment and a city. So were does the team go on from here? Let’s make a check list:

Functional front office with football minds- check

New head coach- check

Quarterback- wait . . . Let’s see if we still feeling dangerous. . . . . Ok, check!

The only thing left to do now is improve this team through free agency and the draft. There are much less needs than last year, but some critical positions need addressed if the Browns have any chance at making the postseason next year.

GET A DAMN KICKER!!!

It took 30 different starting quarterbacks for the Browns to find their guy. Let’s not let the same thing happen to the kicker position. Since Joe Banner let Phil Dawson walk in 2013, the Browns have not had a reliable kicker. It was a rough year for kickers overall in the NFL, but that shouldn’t mean the Browns should over look the position. If they had a solid kicker all season they may have made the playoffs. Dorsey filled the quarterback hole. Now it’s time to fill this one. Even if it means signing one of Haslam’s players from the Columbus Crew.

Get another stud receiver

The group consisting Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, Rashard Higgins, and Bradshad Perriman is a solid receiving core. However, injuries happen and if you can do better, you do better. I say give Baker a group that gives defenses headaches. I like to reflect back to the 3 Super Bowls that Kurt Warner was in. How did he get there? One of the big reasons is that he was LOADED with receiving talent. Get another guy opposite of Landry. Either in free agency or early in the draft. The Antonio Brown fantasy is nice but it’s unrealistic. Pittsburgh won’t give their arch rival the best receiver in the game.

Offensive line depth

Browns o-line was solid this season but could use a tune up. The interior headlined by Kevin Zeitler, JC Tretter, and pro bowler Joel Bitonio was one of the best in the league. They’re looking to sign left tackle Greg Robinson to a new contract and Chris Hubbard was decent at right tackle. You need to make sure Baker is protected at all times. I say get a prospect back up center, continue to develop Austin Corbett, and draft a few tackles. They have plenty of picks and its a good o-line class. Take advantage of it.

Backup quarterback

Tyrod Taylor will be testing free agency which leaves the second quarterback spot open. Good news is that saves Cleveland $15 million on the salary cap. The last thing Freddie Kitchens needs is to loose Baker for a period time and without a reliable back up. The Eagles were prepared a season ago and their back up delivered a championship. I am not huge on Drew Stanton. I say get a veteran like Ryan Fitzpatrick and draft one in the mid to late rounds. Be prepared for anything.

Defensive tackle

Browns defensive line was their best in several years. Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi lead the pack with sacks (19 combines). But Emmanuel Ogbah’s injury problems continued and Browns couldn’t any consistency from their other defensive tackles. It would be HUGE for the team to add a playmaker in the middle of that line. Look how much help Ndamukong Suh was to Aaron Donald. The upcoming draft has plenty of quality defensive tackle talent. Only time will tell if 3rd round pick Chad Thomas can be a factor at the end of the line. It wouldn’t hurt to look at any other options just in case Ogbah’s injuries persist.

More depth at defensive back

Before John Dorsey joined the Browns, the team would consistently go into training camp with a lack of depth with defensive backs. Injuries to starters led to more problems on the field. But last year Dorsey loaded up on defensive back talent, and we saw a big differnce. The secondary unit struggled near the end of the season when Terrence Mitchell, E.J. Gains, and Denzel Ward were ailing injuries. One of the factors in their loss to the Raiders was serious fatigue late in the game due to lack of substitutes. Fortunately for Cleveland, Damrious Randall and Jabrill Peppers were healthy most of the season. But that may not be the story next season. Dorsey may need to load up the back field again to help improve the defense. I wouldn’t be against adding a stud corner back to play opposite of Ward, and having Mitchell and Carrie as the backups. It would be similar to when Broncos signed Aqib Talib to put opposite of Chris Harris, which helped them win a Super Bowl a year later. Browns got the money to spend and could use it to make their secondary deadly.

Great Lakes Brewery coolers in case of Super Bowl victory.

I’m not jumping the gun and saying the Browns will be Super Bowl champs next year. But, if hell freezes over and it does happen we need to be prepared, right? The Bud Light victory fridges were hit after the Browns first win in over a year. So wouldn’t it be fitting to have a free Cleveland craft beer giveaway if they won it all? After all the years of turmoil the fans would deserve a chance to slam some brews on the greatest night of their lives. Let’s make it happen. GO BROWNS!!!

Cleveland Browns Roster Breakdown Following 2018 Offseason

John Dorsey has just wrapped up his first offseason as the general manager of the Cleveland Browns. A team that has seen only one win in the past two seasons and is desperate for a turnaround. Dorsey has a history of developing a winning culture to any franchise he has been a part, but never has he inherited a mess like the Browns. A team that hasn’t seen a winning season in eleven years and a playoff game in sixteen. Will fans finally see a competitve team in Cleveland? Or will they continue to implode in a weak division? Only time will tell. Here’s a roster breakdown a month before training camp.

Quarterback

Any professional football fan could tell you about the plague that is the Cleveland Browns quarterback situation. Tyrod Taylor is set to become the 29th starter since 1999. Dorsey was determined to help end that streak for good. I will give the man credit. I personally believe he put together the best QB group the new franchise has ever acquired. Let’s start with Taylor. He is a proven winner that helped lead the Buffalo Bills to the playoffs in 2017. He is physically and mentally tough. He has a great balance of arm strength and accuracy. Buffalo felt the need to move forward without him and traded him to Cleveland, which may come in the Browns favor. Dorsey then added Drew Stanton who has a reputation of being solid backup and winning record when filling in for injured starters. Then you have the number 1 pick overall of the 2018 NFL Draft, Baker Mayfield. The kid that will hopefully lead the Browns to the Lombardi Trophy someday. But Browns fans have seen it all. Local players Charlie Frye and Brady Quinn fell short of expectations. Along with Quinn, 1st round quarterbacks Tim Couch, Brandon Weeden, and Johnny Manziel’s careers were short lived on the shores of Lake Erie. Couch was the only one to lead the team to playoffs, and due to injury couldn’t play. Fans pray the Heisman winner from Oklahoma is their savior. The best case scenario is that Tyrod plays the whole season and Mayfield takes his time to develop. Coach Jackson has already started a rookie on week 1 before. He won’t rush to do it again. On paper, Browns kick off training camp with a solid QB group.

Current QB Grade: B

Running Back

Stating the obvious, Browns have lacked a lot of things the past few seasons. One of their biggest issues is the lack of the run game. They haven’t had a running back rush for 1,000 yards since Peyton Hillis in 2010. The past few seasons, fans and fantasy football owners were patiently waiting for Isaiah Crowell to break out into one of the top rushers in the league. It never happened. As a result, Crowell never received an extension and signed with the Jets this past March. Browns front office was determined to find the right pieces to bring back that old school Cleveland running game. They went out and signed former Ohio State Buckeye, Carlos Hyde, and drafted Nick Chubb from Georgia. Hyde brings plenty of speed, finesse, and the ability to catch the ball. Hyde rushed for over 1,000 yards last year with San Francisco. Chubb is a power runner that will plow his way through defenses. Browns were able to sign Duke Johnson to a 3 year extension. Johnson was hands down the team’s best offensive playmaker of last season. If this group can stay healthy, they could do some serious damage to opposing offenses.

Current RB Grade: B, but could potentially be an A.

Offensive Line

Cleveland’s quarterback struggles don’t get any better with lack of offensive line performance. Last year was an odd year for offensive lines in the NFL. The league’s new contact practice restrictions really hurt the development of each offensive line unit in the league. The Browns suffered greatly because of it. Overall, the Browns line was healthy all season with an exception of one major injury: Joe Thomas. An injury that played a part in the future Hall of Famer’s retirement. The team goes into the 2018 season with a strong interior made up of Kevin Zeitler, Joe Bitonio, and J.C. Tretter. John Dorsey was able to pry Chris Hubbard away from Pittsburgh to fill the hole at right tackle. The big question is, who will fill the void at left tackle? The training camp matchup looks to be between Shone Coleman (who struggled at right tackle last year but is being trained by Joe Thomas), newly acquired Donald Stephenson (who will serve a 2 game suspension), 2nd round pick Austin Corbett, and former number 2 overall pick Greg Robinson (signed on June 18th). As of right now, most of the o-line is set. But the Browns saw how much the loss of Joe Thomas hurt them on the field. Do they have the right guys to properly protect Tyrod Taylor this season?

Current OL Grade: B

Wide Receiver

In the 2016 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns loaded up on wide receivers hoping to end their receiving woes. Well, it didn’t work. The 1st rounder Corey Coleman has yet to prove to the Browns that he belongs in the NFL, which means potentially the Browns could have wasted another 1st round pick. Rashard Higgins may have actually been the only good receiver pick Cleveland made that whole draft. The rest of them are no longer on the team. Josh Gordon made his triumphant return last season and was in great shape. As longs as he can stay clean, he has the possibility of having a season similar to 2012. Dorsey did something that no Browns GM in recent memory has done. He went out and got a top receiver. For years, fans have suggested bringing in a top receiver to help the quarterbacks out. John Dorsey answered that request by trading for Jarvis Landry. Dorsey continued adding receiving depth by drafting Florida’s Antonio Calloway in the 4th round. Some experts had Calloway as the best receiver in the draft class. But due to legal issues and failed drug tests, Calloway was suspened his final season at Florida. It seems to be a low risk, high reward situation for the Browns. I probably should add he was being trained by Antonio Brown. That could come back and bite Pittsburgh. Let’s hope. Worst case scenario, it’s Josh Gordon all over again. Don’t rule out the additions of Jeff Janis and rookie Damien Ratley helping the team in more ways than one. The big question going into the preseason, will Corey Coleman help or hurt this receiving group? Or should Cleveland invest into one more receiver on the market like a Dez Bryant?

Current WR Grade: B

Tight End

No matter how much the Browns have struggled in my life time, they have always been able to have a reliable tight end on the team. Steve Heiden, Aaron Shea, Kellen Winslow Jr., Jordan Cameron, Ben Watson, and Gary Barnidge just to name a few. Last season the tight ends showed flashes of promise but also showed they had a lot to learn at the pro level. This past offseason the Browns only added Darren Fells who is more known for blocking than receiving. This may show that the front office wants to move forward with Seth DeValve and 1st round pick David Njoku. Both have shown they can be serious weapons on the receiving end. It will be a case of how Todd Haley decides to use them.

Current TE Grade: B

Defensive Line

Statistically last season the Browns were at the bottom of almost every category. Run defense was a different story. Defensive coordinator Greg Williams’ group were one of the top run stoppers in the league last year. At one point in the season, they were compared to past super bowl winners (seriously, look it up). The defensive line was young and athletic. Led by 2017 1st overall pick Myles Garrett, who showed some serious promise in his rookie season. But late in the season, injuries plagued the line and it became harder to contain the run game. Going into the offseason, John Dorsey knew he had to add talent with speed and strength if they were going to compete at the line of scrimmage. He started by trading 1st round pick Danny Shelton to the New England Patriots for a 2019 3rd round pick. Which meant a few things. One, the Browns had given up on another 1st round pick. Two, the team was going with a faster approach at defensive tackle. Instead of getting a guy to clog the middle and take up space, they want to use speed to get to the ball carrier. A strategy many teams in the league are embracing. Trevon Coley and Larry Ogunjobi are the players they’re expected to build the middle around. Both players showed great finesse and speed last season. Caleb Brantley’s future in Cleveland is still up in the air. On the opposite side of Garrett you have the very talented Emmanuel Ogbah, who continues to struggle with injuries in the early part of his pro career. It was mandatory Browns had to add depth in order to avoid imploding after injuries. Dorsey added former Bengal Chris Smith early in the free agency period. Smith was one of the best in the league with pass rushing. Browns went into the drsft wanting to add another pass rusher, and drafted Miami defensive end Chad Thomas in the 3rd round. Thomas was one of the fastest defensive linemen in the class and had a knack for disrupting the quarterback. On paper, the Browns defensive line got younger and faster. However, I was disappointed in the lack of depth at defensive tackle. Dorsey was able to add serious depth in every position this offseason, but seemed to push aside the defensive tackle. Came away from free agency and the draft without picking up one. Maybe we’ll see an undrafted free agent step up and fill the void. The line sounds good on paper but has a lot to prove. Hopefully enough moves were made to improve from last year.

Current DL Grade: C

Linebackers

The only position the Browns may be the best at in the league is linebacker. A stacked group which includes Jamie Collins, Christian Kirksey, and pro bowler Joe Shobert. Browns drafted Genard Avery out of Memphis in the 5th round. He is expected to start out in special teams with his hard hitting playing style. One of the Browns best moves of the offseason came after the draft, and really made heads turn around the the league. The Eagles cut Mychal Kendricks due to cap reasons, and Cleveland signed him to a one year deal. No one actually thought Kendricks would be headed to the shores of Lake Erie. If they can stay healthy, the Browns could have the most elite group of linebackers in the league.

Current LB Grade: A

Defensive Backs

Despite the Browns past issues, they have always been able to put together a decent defensive backs group. That hasn’t been the case the past few seasons. They have struggled to put anything together against the passing attack. Just miserable performances after another. The cornerbacks were unable to match up against receivers. For some reason Jabrill Peppers played his rookie season as a free safety as oppose to a strong safety. That puzzled many fans. Dorsey went defensive back crazy in the spring adding veterans T.J. Carrie, Terrance Mitchell, and E.J. Gaines. He made a trade with the Green Bay Packers to land CB Damarious Randall, who will start at free safety which will move Peppers to strong safety. On draft day, Browns made Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward the 4th overall pick. A sexy pick that was in favor of the fans and the front office. The Browns not only landed a Buckeye but the best cornerback in the draft. Ward is expected to be a starter the first week and hopefully help end the defensive woes for the Browns. Right now it looks like a solid group, many questions still remain. Can Randall adjust at free safety? Will Peppers bounce back after a disappointing rookie season? Browns can’t afford another weak season from their defensive backs.

Current DB Grade: B

Special Teams

There was a time when the Browns special teams squad was consistently one of the best in the league. Cleveland has still not recovered from the departures of Phil Dawson and Josh Cribbs several seasons ago. There has been a new kicker every season since Dawson was let go. They struggle to find any legit returner the past few seasons. Travis Benjamin was their last solid returner before he left for the Chargers. Even if the NFL screwed up the kick return rules, you have to have someone who can help give your offense good starting position. Coordinator Chris Tabor left the Browns for the Bears this past offseason. Tabor was with Cleveland since 2011 and worked with four different head coaches. He was replaced with Amos Jones who coached the Cardinals special teams for six seasons. Hopefully Jones can bring in a positive difference to the team. Roster wise, punter Britton Colquitt seems to be the only bright spot. Browns seem to be entering the 2018 training camp without a for sure answer to kicker and returner. It would be nice to see a new face step up and change that.

Current Special Teams Grade: D

Cleveland Browns 4 Round Mock Draft 2017: Browns Potential Moves and My Recommendations

Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns

Everyone knows the story of 2016. If you’re a Cavaliers or Indians fan, you’ll never forget that year. If you’re a Browns fan, you never want to speak about that season. Coach Hue Jackson and Browns VP Sashi Brown walked away from their first draft hoping they made their first step to rebuilding the team a successful one. Some Browns analyst like to spit on that draft and even some call it the worst draft since the 1999 revival. I think that’s too harsh. I honestly defend the draft picks . . . . for the most part. Corey Coleman, Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Nassib, Shon Coleman, Cody Kessler, and Joe Shobert may make the starting roster next season. The Browns have struggled picking quality players with their mid-round selections in past drafts. So in a way you can say there is improvement. But, it takes more than six players to make a winning team. The late round selections in their 2016 draft were overall poor despite loading up on receivers. They failed to address offensive line and defensive back holes as well. Lack of depth in almost all positions left them with very few options following injuries. It took a Christmas miracle from Elyria native Jamie Meder to prevent an 0-16 season. Coach Jackson knew it was going to take a while to make the team a competitor. I don’t think he thought the first season was going to be that horrific. However, it was a season that needed to happen. The past decade, the Browns have claimed to rebuild several times, but never really went through with it. They relied on big free agent signings, veteran quarterbacks, and pressured some rookies to take on more than they could handle. The new regime pushed the reset button for good this time by adding more picks for the next few drafts and cutting almost every veteran contract they had on the team. Since Jimmy Haslam took over as owner, the Browns have had 3 coaching changes, 2 general manager changes, 2 team vice president changes, and 2 team president changes. All with different ideas how to run the team. Yeah, it was time to blow the whole thing up and start a complete remodel. Now its draft weekend. The Browns actually had a pretty damn good free agent period, but can it carry over to the draft? For the first time since 2000, they own the first overall pick. Unfortunately for them, there isn’t a star quarterback who sticks out in this class. The 2017 draft class has a ton of talent, but lacks a quality group of quarterbacks. Will this finally be the draft class that gets the Dawg Pound proudly barking for a long time? Only time will tell. Thank God for LeBron James.

Key Additions: LB Jamie Collins, WR Kenny Britt, QB Brock Osweiler, C J.C. Tretter, and G Kevin Zeitler.

Key Departures: QB Robert Griffith III, QB Josh McCown, S Jordan Poyer, and WR Terrelle Pryor.

 

Round 1, Pick 1

MylesGarrett3

Browns: DE/LB Myles Garrett, Texas A&M

I am aware of the rumors swirling around concerning the first overall pick. I am also aware that Haslam wants an answer at quarterback this draft. There was a fantastic article I read concerning the media and NFL Draft. Basically, after April 1st, everyday is April Fools Day for the sports media. They’ll report anything about anyone. Reports since early last fall stated the Browns were sold on Garrett. It didn’t change through the combine and private workouts, why would it change now? Hall of Famer Warren Sapp had some harsh comments about the prospect. Yes I do agree he has maturity issues. I do realize most of his sacks came from one game last season. That won’t stop the Browns from drafting him. He has the talent and intangibles to compete at the next level. The Browns will not be trading the pick. They’re going to pick the best player on the board and that’s Myles Garrett. As for his maturity, leave that to new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

Plan B: QB Mitch Trubisky

MylesGarrett2

Me: Myles Garrett

The Browns and I don’t always agree. When we have, it’s either hit or miss. Two key times we have agreed (and wish we wouldn’t have) were Trent Richardson and Barkevious Mingo. Yeah . . . . let’s not talk about that. But why Garrett? Browns have passed up on playmakers so many times in the past. I get it. They had too many holes and needed more draft picks. Now they have plenty of draft picks and they’re sitting on top of the board. Any player is in play now. Let’s use some logic here and get the best available. I want to also note the Browns are going to be playing in a hybrid defense under Gregg Williams. A mixture of 4-3 and 3-4. After all the fans have been through, wouldn’t it be nice to run a 3-4 with Garrett and Collins as your outside linebackers, and have Garrett, Ogbah, and Shelton on your line in the 4-3?! It sounds like something Madden fans would love to tinker with. The kid has got speed, toughness, and can tackle without any issues. In case you didn’t know, tackling was difficult for the Browns last season. That should never be an issue for a professional football team. If I had to make the call, Garrett would be a Brown.

Plan B: S Malik Hooker

 

Round 1, Pick 12

MTrubisky

Browns: QB Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina

I don’t believe the hype with this quarterback class. Every football fan knows that quarterback is the most important position in the game. That’s why every draft the media gets a hard on with every single quarterback up until draft time. I don’t believe the Browns are wanting to trade up for their answer under center in this draft. However, I do believe Trubisky will fall to 12 and I do believe the reports about Hue Jackson sold on his potential. If Trubisky is indeed there at 12, the Mentor native is heading home. Would I take a chance on the kid? Personally, no. Not a bad player, but only one year starting under his belt in a weak QB class. Why reach and get another one next year?! I say keep Osweiler and give him a solid shot at starting. Kessler would be better with a new offensive line and better weapons. The team needs another year anyway. I’ll give credit to Trubisky. He threw very few picks and is a solid signal caller. However, his worst game was his bowl game last season. Will he be there when it counts? I have a gut feeling his name will called when the Browns use their second first round pick.

Plan B: TE O.J. Howard

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Toledo

Me: WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan

Last year, the Browns made a solid first pick in Corey Coleman. He was someone I really overlooked. I honestly really like the receiver. Look at the consistent winning teams though. What do they all have in common? A stacked receiving squad. Corey Coleman can’t do it all. Kenny Britt would be better in the slot. They let Terrelle Pryor slip through they’re hands like a bad Braylon Edwards memory. And NO! Josh Gordon is NOT playing for the Browns ever again! That fantasy needs to blow up in smoke. Pun intended. Even with Mike Williams still on the board, I would take Corey Davis. He can do what Williams can do plus more. I can hear the MAC haters right now. It doesn’t matter what conference you’re in! Skill is skill. Out of the top receivers in this draft he is the only one to consistently put up at least 1,400 receiving yards the past three seasons, and avoid serious injury. His freshman season he fell short of 1,000. His playmaking reminds me somewhat of Odell Beckham Jr. I’m really sold on this kid.

Plan B: RB Dalvin Cook

Bold trade prediction: Browns trade the 33rd overall pick, 3rd round 2018, and 5th round 2018 to Denver for the 20th overall pick.

Round 1, Pick 20

RyanRamczyk

Browns: OT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin

I usually don’t make trade predictions in my mocks, but this year I decided to add them. Multiple reports state the Browns are very interested in moving up to the lower 1st round picks. Denver Broncos have confirmed they’ve had plenty of discussions with Cleveland involving the 33rd pick and more in exchange for the 20th pick. I think it does happen when Denver is on the clock. Browns saw how horrible their offensive line was last year. Losing Alex Mack hurt them badly. They found out the hard way that Cameron Irving is not a professional center by any means. Quarterbacks got hit left, right, and middle. The team added Tretter and Zeitler the first day of free agency. They managed to give Bitonio a large extension, but he still seems injury prone. That leaves the right tackle battle between Cameron Irving and Shon Coleman. In order to help guarantee their quarterbacks a new and improved line, they trade up for Ramczyk. He was consistent for Wisconsin as their left tackle. Wisconsin has had a reputation of producing solid offensive linemen. Browns Joe Thomas and Kevin Zeitler can contest to that. They add another Badger here without giving up a 1st round pick. It would end up being a win for both Denver and Cleveland.

 

Round 2, Pick 33

ObiMelifonwu

Me: S Obi Melifonwu

I end up not trading up with the Broncos. I decide to keep my future draft picks. There is debate whether or not Melifonwu gets taken in the 1st round or not. I’m going out on a limb and saying he drops to the second round. Browns safeties were sad to watch last season. Bigger receivers took advantage of them and they seemed to struggle tackling opponents down field. Melifonwu is 6’4 with a 7 foot wing span. He was one of the best in college football at knocking down passes. With his height, quarterbacks had a tough time throwing over him. Some analysts have compared him to Kam Chancellor. Plus, Browns fans could yell, “Obi! You’re our only hope!”. That would be fun.

Plan B: Best defensive back available

 

Round 2, Pick 52

JoeMixon

Browns: RB Joe Mixon, Oklahoma

Browns have made it clear they are interested in Mixon despite the off field issues. I believe Cleveland has seen the best out of Crowell and Jackson wants to make Johnson more of a receiving back. Mixon put up solid numbers in Oklahoma but I think specifically the 6.8 yards per carry average caught the team’s attention. Jimmy Haslam has even defended the possibility of drafting Mixon. Hopefully they don’t run into another Johnny Manziel situation. Coach Jackson doesn’t want to wake up in the morning to those headlines.

Plan B: S Desmond King

MarcusWilliams

Me: S Marcus Williams, Utah

With the first second round pick I upgraded the safety position. I add the other safety with the next pick. Williams is a high energy player, a great tackler for his size, and he has a good eye for the ball. Picking him and Obi would solidify that weak coverage in the back field. Haden, Taylor, and Boddy-Calhoun would rotate the cornerback positions. This would make things a little easier for Gregg Williams.

Plan B: S Josh Jones

 

3rd Round, Pick 65

MarcusMaye

Browns: S Marcus Maye, Florida

Browns go into the 3rd round without addressing their defensive back problem. They make a move with the 65th pick to help improve it. Maye was known for his speed and ablitiy to deflect passes. Don’t ask me why, but when I was watching film on this guy he just looked like someone the Browns would draft. He wasn’t really flashy but he got the job done. That tends to be the type of players the Browns like in mid-rounds. If the Browns do get Maye, its still a pick that would end up starting week one.

Plan B: Best safety on the board

EthanPocic

Me: C Ethan Pocic, LSU

Watching the Browns center struggles almost made me stroke last season. Cameron Erving belongs at right tackle, and I’ve said that since he was drafted. Austin Reiter is a good player to keep around for depth reasons. He had one good game at center and then tore his ACL. I’ve read too many negative reviews on Marcus Martin. J.C. Tretter was a great signing but he also had a serious injury with Green Bay last season. You need a backup plan in football. You never know when injuries will happen. Pocic makes too much sense with this pick. He excelled in pass protection but still needs work on his run blocking. His biggest strength is reading defenses and directing the offensive line. Coaches in LSU raved about his ability to play the center position. He could develop into Cleveland’s starting center someday.

Plan B: C/G Pat Elflein

 

Bold trade prediction: Browns trade QB Brock Osweiler to the Jets for the 107th pick overall.

Round 3, Pick 107

Clemson vs Louisvills

Browns: TE Jordan Leggett, Clemson

If my prediction is right, Browns get Mitch Trubisky at 12 and Jets end up filling holes with their other picks. I can see the Jets eventually picking Deshaun Watson or Deshone Kizer in the draft. But you have to think with Todd Bowles on the hot seat, does he really want to go into a season with a rookie quarterback and Josh McCown?! What if they don’t get Kizer or Watson?! Browns may strike a deal here. They tell the Jets they’ll pay the majority of Osweiler’s contract in exchange for the last pick in the 3rd round. This would make Hogan, Kessler, and Trubisky the quarterback competition, and give the Browns back to back picks in the 3rd and 4th round. Jets get their quarterback and Browns get their pick. Everyone is happy . . . well, maybe. The NFL today is slowly stepping away from receiving tight ends and using more wide receivers. For fantasy football owners, like me, it can be disappointing. I grew up with tight ends being a dependable receiver when the quarterback is out of options, or sometimes they were the better option. Hue Jackson’s offense still believes in the receiving tight end. You may remember Tyler Eifert’s pro bowl season with the Bengals in 2015. That was partially due to Jackson’s offensive schemes. Last year, the seven some quarterbacks the Browns used couldn’t get the ball to the tight ends. Gary Barnidge is a great player for the locker room but is at the tail end of his career. Leggett has some the best receiving hands in this tight end class. He also had an habit of dropping some easy passes. However, I will add he was clutch during Clemson’s championship run and playoff game against Ohio State. Browns have made it clear they’re interested in Leggett and make him a Brown with this pick.

Plan B: Best receiving or defensive line prospect

 

Round 4, Pick 108

TanzelSmart

Browns: DT Tanzel Smart, Tulane

Cleveland was terrible at pressuring the quarterback last year. Danny Shelton could only do so much. Only Nassib and Ogbah seemed consistent on that defensive line. Now that they’ll be using 4-3 schemes in their defense, they’ll need another defensive tackle. Smart specialized in pressuring the quarterback. He wasn’t really known for run stopping or sacking opponents. He consistently hurried the opposition and ruffed up offensive linemen. Now could the Browns possibly get this guy with a later pick? I won’t lie to you, yeah they probably could. I have them taking him here because it sounds like a Browns thing to do. Let’s hope that Smart is a smart pick here in the 4th round.

Plan B: Best defensive linemen or defensive back

AntonioGarcia

Me: OT Antonio Garcia, Troy

Garcia has a lot of potential, but still some question marks as well. The guy didn’t give up a single sack and only gave up one quarterback hit his entire senior season. Sounds good on paper but scouts really question some of his mechanics. His pass protection needs plenty of work. I really dig his toughness though. They complained he put too many guys on the ground but in the NFL you need that attitude sometimes. If I’m the Browns, I make him compete with Erving and Coleman for the starting right tackle spot. This guy could be a diamond in the ruff as far as the 4th round goes.

Plan B: Best offensive lineman available

As far as the rest of the draft, I would go out and get a running back, add to the defensive line, and may add one more receiver in a later round. Like Jimmy Johnson told the front office, you won’t get all your pieces in the second offseason but by the third year you better be a contender. I trust in Hue Jackson. Not so much Haslam. GO BROWNS!!!

Cleveland Browns 4 Round Mock Draft 2016: What I would do vs. What I think they will do

NFL: Cleveland Browns-Press Conference

 

Training camp kicks off July 2015. Fans show up to Berea, excited and anxious to see what the new football season will bring for the Cleveland Browns. The team is coming off a surprising 7-9 season and players are looking forward to a new, improved team. Fans are standing at the sidelines, wearing the new Browns uniforms that were released in April. All eyes are on first rounders, Danny Shelton and Cameron Erving, with hope that they can contribute to the team right away. The team was entering their second season under the Mike Pettine and Ray Farmer regime. On paper, the team had a solid offensive line squad and defensive unit. Fans continued to debate if this would be the year Johnny Manziel took over the starting role for good, ending a long streak of starting quarterbacks in Cleveland.

Let’s fast forward to the final game of the season.

It’s January 3rd. The Browns just concluded a season that fans were begging would end. The team ended with a 3-13 record, but that wasn’t saying enough. Tension was building between the locker room and front office. An assistant coach was fired after accused of assault of a friend in his own home. Injuries plagued the team, including top receiver Andrew Hawkins and defensive captain Joe Haden. Fans watched one of the worst Monday Night Football conclusions in a home loss to Baltimore. And then there was Johnny Manziel. The quarterback would be caught partying, beating women, lying to coaches, and showing up to practice drunk. No, this is not some sick Cohen brothers screen play. This is the Cleveland Browns. Finally, owner Jimmy Haslam had enough. About three hours after their home loss to Pittsburgh, Coach Mike Pettine and General Ray Farmer were canned. Making fans mutter words they’ve said for the past six years: Here we go . . . again. However, this was different. You might even say strange. The Browns are going a direction that no one has gone before in NFL history.

It was round three for Jimmy Haslam. The Banner and Chudzinski experiment only lasted one season. The forced Farmer and Pettine marriage produced even more problems. Minutes after the firings were announced, the new direction was already taking place. Sashi Brown was promoted to Vice President of football operations. Haslam dubbed him the man in charge. No one knew who he was or where he came from. But now the future of the team is in his hands. It gets weirder. The front office decides to go all out on analytics. Something that no team has ever done before in the NFL. They hire Paul Depodesta, who was well known as the Money Ball guy for the Oakland Athletics. The search for a new head coach was short lived. They did something strange. They hired a well known, good coach in former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson. Usually the Browns go with an unknown name who never had head coaching experience before. The players approved the decision. Free agency came and fans were interested to see what direction the team would go. When the new front office said they were doing things different, they meant it. The first week of free agency came and gone, no big moves were made. Instead, many players signed some where else including Pro Bowler, Alex Mack. The team continued to cut players including Karlos Dansby, Donte Whitner, Dwayne Bowe, and of course, Johnny Manziel. The biggest addition the Browns made was signing quarterback Robert Griffin III. The former Redskin was looking for a team that would give him a second chance. With all the bad history the Browns have had with quarterbacks since 1999, it was interesting that he choice to sign. It gets closer to draft time and the Tennessee Titans shock the sports media world with the decision to trade the number one overall pick to the Los Angeles Rams. All eyes were on the Browns, and they responded. With interest in trading down also, the Browns made a blockbuster trade to send the second overall pick to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Browns got multiple picks and stayed in the top ten. With 12 picks in the 2016 draft, they have no choice but to get as many picks right as they can. The trade did guarantee that the two top quarterbacks in this draft would be off the board. Poor draft history has put them in the position they are in now. So here it is! I give you four rounds in which I make the picks and I tell you who I think the analytics guys will really pick. Will the Browns turn it around or will we have to just keep reminding ourselves LeBron James is our true savior?

Key Additions: QB Robert Griffin III, LB Demario Davis, and S Rahim Moore.

Key Losses: C Alex Mack, LB Craig Robertson, LB Karlos Dansby, S Donte Whitner, T Mitchell Schwartz, WR Travis Benjamin, S Tashaun Gipson, and QB Johnny Manziel

Round 1, 8th pick (from Eagles)

Me: WR Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss

Treadwell

If Ezekiel Elliot is available at this pick, I may fall into temptation. I can’t deny someone with a similar skill set than Marshawn Lynch. However, the NFL Draft is crazy. I believe someone will snatch him up somewhere between the 3rd to 7th pick overall pick. Maybe even Dallas at 4. So who would I go with if Zeke is gone? The player I’ve been talking about since the second week of college football. Treadwell is the real deal. The past few drafts, the Browns have turned down so many talented receivers. NO MORE! If the front office is going to do something different than they must prove it! The receivers on the roster right now are Andrew Hawkins, Brian Hartline, Desmond Jennings, and Terrell Pryor. I wouldn’t worry about Josh Gordon. Even if he’s reinstated, he’ll probably get traded. Treadwell is a similar player to Gordon. Good speed, excellent hands, and consistently broke tackles during his college career. His stocked dropped after a severe knee injury in 2014 and poor combine. But I don’t rely on the combine for anything. I am sick and tired of a moderate receiving core. The quarterbacks need help! Whoever he is! With this pick, I have given them some serious help. Something they’re not used to having.

Browns: OLB Myles Jack, UCLA

Jack

When the Browns are on the clock, I don’t expect a receiver to be on their mind. I bet an offensive linemen will be the only players they’ll consider for the offense with this pick. The team needs help everywhere at this point. Cleveland will go with Jack because of his playmaking ability and their desperate need for some youth at the linebacker position. New guy, Demario Davis, is the only middle linebacker on the team right now. Outside linebackers consist of Paul Kruger, Scott Solomon, and Barkevious Mingo. Kruger isn’t getting younger. Solomon is coming off a serious injury. Mingo didn’t get cut because of Ray Horton’s special plans for him. I will give Mingo credit, he did bulk up 20 pounds since Horton returned. Myles Jack is a safe and solid pick here. Don’t be surprised to hear Deforest Buckner’s name called if he’s available. I don’t personally believe Joey Bosa will be around at 8. If he was, along with Elliot, I wouldn’t want to be the one to make that decision.  Browns go defense in the 1st round either way.

Other options: WR Josh Docston, T Jack Conklin, DL Deforest Buckner, and RB Ezekiel Elliot (if he’s there).

 

Round 2, 32nd pick

Me: WR Tyler Boyd, Pittsburgh

Boyd

What?! Another receiver?! Didn’t you hear me the first time?! I’m tired of it!!! Time to load up with two talented receivers. I had a tough time deciding between Boyd and my Buckeye’s Micheal Thomas. After much debate with myself, I picked Boyd. He consistently made the tough catch, especially in the end zone. Blessed with solid speed and a 6’2 frame. Plus he beat Larry Fitzgerald’s school record of receptions and yards. Yeah, he’s a big deal. Put him on the opposite of Treadwell, along with Hawkins and Hartline in the slots, the Browns will give defenses problems for once.

Browns: QB Cardale Jones, Ohio State

Jones2

WHAT?! NO! Seth, you can’t be serious?! Oh, but I am. It doesn’t matter who’s in the front office or under the headset. The Browns are the Browns. The dust will settle and they’ll kick off day two of the draft with a shocker. Cleveland will want to lock up the hometown kid in the 2nd round and start the new project at the quarterback position. I can see it now. Cleveland fans making Cardale the number one sold jersey in the NFL for the rest of the offseason. It was the plan from the get go. After getting a good look at Wentz, they go for the guy who led the Buckeyes to their championship run and victory. Coach Jackson would have a lot of work to do with this one.

Other options: S Keanu Neal, WR Corey Coleman, DE Kevin Dodd, WR Micheal Thomas, and C Ryan Kelly

 

Round 3, 65th pick

Me: G Joshua Garnett, Stanford

Garnett

Now I address the offensive line. Returning players consist of Cameron Erving, Joel Bitonio, John Greco, and of course, Joe Thomas. But with Mack and Schwartz leaving the team, it has left some serious holes that need to be filled. Garnett is a force to be reckoned with. Defenders could never catch him off balanced and seemed to never get passed him. I’m not sure how much longer Greco will be with team. Better put Garnett on the opposite side of Bitonio.

Browns: C Nick Martin, Notre Dame

Martin2

Browns weren’t able to contain Alex Mack this offseason. I think they like Erving everywhere else but center on that line. They fill that hole here with their first third round pick. They’ll need someone who can help guide the o-line in a similar fashion Mack did. That being said, Martin maybe selected by the Browns.

Other options: S Jeremy Cash, S Jalen Mills, OLB Kyle Fackrell, and LB Joshua Perry.

 

Round 3, 77th pick (from Eagles)

Me: MLB Joshua Perry, Ohio State

Perry

The past few seasons, the team has struggled to consistently tackle properly. Very few players on the team consistently brought opponents down. Damario Davis will need a sidekick in that 3-4  defense. Ohio State’s Josh Perry had fantastic vision and was a phenomenal wrap up tackler. I know the Browns never draft Buckeyes, but it’s time to change that. Perry fits perfectly with what the Browns want to do on the defensive side of the ball.

Browns: WR Leonte Carroo, Rutgers

Carroo

The Browns will finally address their wide receiver need in the 3rd round. Analyts will probably tell you Sterling Shepard would be the better fit here, losing Travis Benjamin and all. But the analytics will say Carroo is a better fit for the Browns. See what I did there? Carroo wouldn’t necessarily be a bad pick here. He is a tough player who had a knack for breaking tackles. Watching him play, I see some similarities to Golden Tate. But at the same time I can see him being another Greg Little. It’s tough to say what type of player he’ll exactly be, but I can see him in orange and brown.

Other options: WR Braxton Miller, WR Sterling Shepard, LB Deion Jones, OLB Kamalei Correa, and OLB Shilique Calhoun

 

Round 4, 99th pick

Me: T Le’Raven Clark, Texas Tech

Clark2

The offensive line was inconsistent last season. The run game suffered the most. Unfortunate for the Browns, Mitchell Schwartz left the team after a Pro Bowl type season. The one game Von Miller didn’t record a tackle was in Cleveland because of Schwartz. Clark is worth taking here at 99. Cameron Erving is an option at right tackle, but Coach Jackson could like him better at guard. The o-line needs some serious depth right now.

Browns: ILB Kentrell Brothers, Missouri

Brothers2

Browns have yet to replace Craig Robertson. Brothers was a playmaker for Missouri on defense and special teams. There is a case to be made for Beniquez Brown with this pick. Brown has the up beat attitude Hue Jackson wants to put in the locker room. However, I got a gut feeling the analytics say other wise. Browns may target Brothers here at 99.

 

Round 4, 100th pick

Me: C Evan Boehm, Missouri

Boehm

Browns have back to back picks to kick off the 4th round. If I had my way, they would load up on offensive line depth since that hurt them badly last year. Getting good o-line depth during the season is tough. That’s why they need to load up in the draft. I think Boehm is a steal here at 100. He was originally a guard that switched positions entering his sophomore year. I can see him starting as the new center.

Browns: WR Charone Peake, Clemson

Peake2

No matter how bad the Browns have drafted the past decade, they always pick one fan favorite out. Last year it was Duke Johnson. The Browns know they need more receivers. With the 100th pick overall, I can see them going with Peake. Overall, he has good hands but is more known for his speed and agility. He could catch a two yard pass and make it into an eleven yard play, dodging a couple defenders in the process. Peake would help fans forget about Travis Benjamin.

Other options for 99 and 100: WR Chris More, WR Pharoh Cooper, WR Kenny Lawler, LB BJ Goodson, DE/LB Alex McCalister, DE/LB Joe Schobert, C Jack Allen, and LB Beniquez Brown.

 

Round 4, 138th pick (from Eagles)

Me: S Miles Killebrew, Southern Utah

Killebrew

This would be a home run for the Browns. They cut Donte Whitner and didn’t resign Tashaun Gipson. They did add Rahim Moore, which I am a big fan of, but he’s not guaranteed a roster spot past the preseason. Killebrew is a diamond in the rough. He is a hard hitting, ball hawk with Pro Bowl potential. Known for jarring the ball loose and reading quarterbacks like a pro. I wouldn’t rule out picking him at 100 just to lock him up. Killebrew would fill a huge need for the Browns.

Browns: RB Daniel Lasco, California

Lasco

Browns got it right drafting Duke Johnson last year. However, Isiah Crowell struggled at times and got a slow start. Cleveland will look to add offensive weapons during the draft to help out whoever is under center. That’s why Lasco makes sense here. His playing style reminds me of Jeremy Hill. Sorry for any Corwell fans, but if they make this pick he could be on his way out. Johnson and Lasco could be a one-two punch Jackson would want on the field.

 

BONUS: Round 6, 172nd pick

Me: DT Cody Grice, Akron

CODY!

Here in the sixth round, I make the biggest steal of the draft. A game changer that Browns fans will never forget. This defensive linemen can also play running back. He is a leader. He will hype up the locker room game in and game out. During his career, he’ll earn the nickname Little Sapp. The first game he gets noticed will be the first match up against Pittsburgh. Grice will bring down Roethlisberger three times that game. The quarterback will get hit so hard he’ll debate retirement. Fans will hope to see Grice hold up the Lombardi trophy in Cleveland. If so, he could be the second Akronite to help Cleveland win a national championship. The King still needs to do his part though.

 

Conclusion

The Browns have A LOT of work to do. Too many holes to fill and one draft isn’t going to do it. They could have the best draft in NFL history and still not have a full team. I am not 100% sure how the analytics will improve the team. It sounds good and all, but it also sounds risky. I do love the choice of hiring Hue Jackson. He could be the coach Cleveland has been asking for in quite sometime. If I were to encourage the Browns to do one thing in this draft, it would be skip selecting a quarterback. They have two first round picks for next year. Use one of them to pick your franchise quarterback. Robert Griffin will most likely become the starter over Josh McCown. Expect the dark horse candidate, Connor Shaw, to make the team. Just surround those guys with help so they have a legit chance. This will be an interesting draft for Cleveland.

Browns hire Hue Jackson. Now What?

HueJackson

Browns, once again, have made a coaching change. But this time it’s different. Instead of getting a random coordinator such as Pat Shurmur, Rob Chudzinski, or Mike Pettine, they went after someone with plenty of experience and who was targeted by other teams. The move was surprising among the fans. However, the team has fully committed to analytics and have yet to hire a general manager. Owner Jimmy Haslam has mentioned the team is going through a complete rebuilding process . . . again. It looks like it will be another interesting offseason in Cleveland. So here’s a breakdown of the current roster and potential ways they can improve it.

Quarterback: Ah, yes. The position the Browns have struggled with since their return in 1999. Tim Couch is still the only quarterback to lead them to the playoffs, and he didn’t even play in the game. But that’s another story. In 2015, the Browns added veteran Josh McCown despite the front office and fans wanting to see Johnny Manziel under center. After the preseason, the team added Austin Davis who failed to make the Rams opening day roster. The previous season, Davis caught the eye of the NFL similar to Brian Hoyer with the Browns. But St.Louis didn’t see the need to retain him. McCown’s season actually went better than expected despite the concussion on the first drive of the season. He broke a Brown’s passing game record with a victory over the Ravens in Baltimore, which was the only game they won with him. Johnny Manziel eventually got his time to shine. In front of the home crowd, he beat the Titans and 49ers. He became the first Browns quarterback in history to rush over 100 yards in a game, week 16 in Kansas City. Austin Davis, unfortunately, didn’t do much better this past season, struggling in his only two starts which were against divisional rivals. During the season, Manziel continued to get negative media attention. An episode in Avon Lake with his girlfriend, lying to Pettine about partying during the bye week, and his alter persona, Billy Manziel. Several reports state that the hiring of Hue Jackson has put an end to the Manziel era in Cleveland. It still has yet to be official. The free agent market is headlined by names such as Sam Bradford, Kirk Cousins, and Brock Osweiler. It is highly unlikely either of them will come to shores of Lake Erie. That means the team will turn to the draft, where they hold the 2nd and 32nd pick. California’s Jared Goff, Memphis’ Paxton Lynch, and North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz could be next on the Browns radar. Prediction: Johnny Manziel is done. McCown, Davis, and whoever is drafted will battle out for the starting job. Hue Jackson will begin his first season with a critical decision that could impact the whole season. Huh? Where have I heard this before?

Current Grade: C-

 

Running Backs: Browns struggled with the run game all season long. The offensive line’s inconsistent play left very little for Isaiah Crowell and rookie Duke Johnson to work with. Cleveland still hasn’t had an 1,000 yard rusher since Peyton Hillis in 2010. Free agents include Matt Forte, Chris Johnson, and Alfred Morris. I can see a possibility they talk to Morris, but I think he stays with the Redskins. Browns fans who also enjoy Ohio State football, such as myself, would love to see Ezekiel Elliot tear across the field in First Energy Stadium. I personally don’t see the Browns using the number 2 pick or trading up to get him. Prediction: Coach Jackson has already expressed admiration for Crowell and Johnson. I think he sticks with them and finds ways to improve the o-line. In Cincinnati, he rotated Bernard and Hill throughout the game. I can see a similar strategy for next season. Expect another back to be drafted in the later rounds.

Current Grade: B

 

Wide Receivers: The Browns had a decent receiving year overall. They still had issues holding on to the ball in the end zone. Travis Benjamin had his best season yet, falling short of 1,000 yards receiving. I expect a handful of teams to approach him when free agency starts. Canton native, Brian Hartline, struggled at the beginning of the season and came through in clutch situations as the season progressed. Andrew Hawkins started as the number one receiver on depth chart, and was almost non-existent. When Farmer signed him, the idea was to keep him in the slot where he thrived on the field. Putting him in the best receiver position didn’t help the team. Marlon Moore and Taylor Gabriel continued to have balls bounce off their hands all season long. Dwayne Bowe sat and made more money than most of the team. Terrell Pryor showed flashes of potential on the receiving end, but still needs more opportunities if he’s going to prove to the league he is a true wide receiver. Fans are still hoping Josh Gordon can return to original form and stay out of trouble. I expect fans to call out names such as Alshon Jeffery when free agency starts, but I don’t see the Browns offering big money to receivers this coming offseason. The draft has a great receiving class this year, including a personal favorite of mine, Laquon Treadwell out of Ole Miss. Prediction: Browns will resign Benjamin and may add a quality veteran along with him. Jackson has coached Pryor before, so watch him resign for a second chance with the team. Dwayne Bowe will be released. Josh Gordon will be with the team when training camp starts. Even though Ray Farmer is no longer the general manager, expect the Browns to not draft a receiver with their first four picks. I hope I’m wrong but I just see them addressing other needs.

Current Grade: C

 

Offensive Line: Just as Johnny Manziel’s season was similar to a comedy television show, the offensive line’s season could be viewed as a soap opera. The Browns had picked Cameron Erving out of Florida State with their second first round choice. This was to add depth to what was already a solid o-line group. I remember talking to other fans about how they were going to be the team’s strength this past season . . . so we thought. The season starts, and the offensive line coach made the news. The guy had a troubled past and was accused of hitting a female guest in his home. The line continued to have problems opening holes for the run game and limiting pressure in pass protection. Trade deadline came, and fans were surprised to hear their two best players, Joe Thomas and Alex Mack, were being offered. The Browns made no deal at the deadline. Joe Bitonio and John Greco suffer injuries which ended their season. Cameron Erving gets his time to shine and flops. It got so bad that Pettine replaced him with someone off the practice squad until the final game. Mitchell Schwartz has his best season yet, and falls short of making the Pro Bowl roster. Joe Thomas and Alex Mack made the Pro Bowl roster. After Pettine was fired, Thomas hinted he may ask to be traded depending on the moves Haslam does to improve the coaching staff and front office within the next month. However, since the hiring of Jackson and Sashi Brown, Thomas has a new attitude and looks forward to playing with the Browns next season. The draft has a solid offensive line class, headlined by top five pick, Laremy Tunsil out of Ole Miss. Free agency has a few names such as Seattle’s Russell Okung, Cincinnati’s Eric Winston, and Browns own Mitchell Schwartz. Prediction: Browns will offer one big contract this offseason and it will be to Schwartz. Alex Mack will opt out of his contract and say farewell to his friend, Thomas (I hope I’m really wrong about that). Cameron Erving will be a much improved player next season and will become an important piece of the line. Bitonio will bounce back from his injury and resume duties at left guard. I suspect the Browns to draft an o-lineman with one of their first three picks in the draft.

Current Grade: C

 

Tight End: One of the few positions the Browns have been able to consistently use well since their return in 1999. From the dynamic duo of Steve Heiden and Aaron Shea, to Kellen Winslow Jr.’s Pro Bowl season in 2007, and former basketball player, Jordan Cameron, and his 2013 Pro Bowl season. The team entered their 2015 season with uncertainty who their everyday starter would be. Until a win in Baltimore in week 5 caught the league and the fans attention. In that game, Gary Barnidge had 8 receptions, 139 yards, and 1 touchdown. That touchdown was one of the best catches you will ever see. He ended his season with 1, 043 reception yards and a franchise best 9 touchdowns. After Patriot’s Rob Gronkowski decided to deny his Pro Bowl invitation, Barnidge was chosen as a replacement. Before the season ended, Barnidge signed a three-year extension. He has been a blessing to the team on and off the field. Always good to the fans and has a charity that helps the community around him. However, the man is thirty-one. That is young in life but old in football. The Browns had little depth behind the man. Expect that to change. Prediction: Browns will look in free agency to find some talent for the right price. Names such as Mercedes Lewis and Zach Miller are possibilities. I wouldn’t be surprised if they picked a tight end in the mid to late rounds of the draft. Expect Jackson to keep Barnidge as an important weapon in the Browns offense. I don’t think this season was a fluke.

Current Grade: B for Barnidge

 

Defensive Line: Browns, once again, were one of the worst rush defenses in the league this year. But at the same time, you can’t place all the blame on the linemen. Starting from the beginning, the Browns signed John Hughes to an extension and then signed veteran Randy Starks last free agency. With the 12th overall pick in the draft, they selected defensive tackle Danny Shelton from the University of Washington. After the preseason, the team made a surprising move trading Billy Winn to the Colts. The defensive line consistently brought pressure on every play, but it never was enough. Despite how some fans feel about Shelton, I thought he had a solid rookie season. His job was to take up space in the middle and help stop the run, and he did that. Opposing teams found that running around the outside was the best way to wear down the defense. Shelton was avoided most of the season, which is actually a compliment to him if you think about it. The combination of Shelton, Starks, and Desmond Bryant worked the best. The majority of sacks and stops came from that trio. Armonty Bryant got in legal trouble again. John Hughes and rookie Xavier Cooper seemed non-existent. The team has a talented group right now, but they need to be better coached and more depth is mandatory going into next season. As much as I would like to see it happen, it’s doubtful they draft Ohio States’ Joey Bosa with the 2nd pick. The 2016 free agent class has a lot of defensive line talent to be desired such as B.J. Raji and Jason Pierre-Paul. Prediction: Browns will address the defensive line in the offseason. There maybe a move or two in free agency, but the draft is where the team will go to upgrade the line. Desmond Bryant and Randy Starks aren’t young players, so they’ll go with some youth that could start when needed.

Current Grade: C

 

Linebacker: When a team runs a 3-4 defensive plays they rely on three defensive linemen and four linebackers. The Browns pretty much ran a 3-3 defense all season. Paul Kruger, Karlos Dansby, and Craig Robertson continued to play to their best ability every game. Ray Farmer didn’t give Pettine enough to fill the right outside linebacker position. In Farmer’s defense, I don’t think he saw the problems coming with that specific position. Going into training camp, Scott Solomon was named the starter. After two different injuries in two games, Solomon was placed on the injured reserve list. Barkevious Mingo tried filling that hole for most of the season, but his performance was inconsistent. Second-round draft pick, Nate Orchard, started the last few games of the season. Orchard showed he could bring his pass rushing ability to the pro level, but other than that I don’t think we got a good look into his ability. In the player’s defense, I question the coaching at the defensive side of the ball. I’m more pointing fingers at Jim O’neil than Mike Pettine. Fans questioned strategies from the team’s defensive coordinator that seemed to consistently hurt the team more than help. A prime example was using Paul Kruger as a coverage linebacker. Kruger is one of the best pass rushers in the league and coverage is not a strong point of his. Opposing teams took advantage of that mistake. Ray Horton is back in Cleveland so hopefully we’ll see improvement. Craig Robertson is a free agent this year. Some of the biggest free agent names include Von Miller and Bruce Irvin. Prediction: Craig Robertson signs a long term deal to stay in Cleveland. Browns may add someone in free agency such as Emmanuel Lamar from the Bengals, who may want to reunite with Hue Jackson. Mid to late-round draft picks could be used to add depth. I believe the Barkevious Mingo experiment is over. I expect he’ll be traded or released.

Current Grade: B-

 

Defensive Backs: Watching the Browns defensive backs play this past season was similar to watching a straight A’s student struggle with math because the teacher lacked the ability to teach it properly. Seriously. Some fans may disagree with me when I say that we had a one of the best defensive back groups in the NFL. The numbers may not back up my statement, but hear me out. One of the first signings the Browns had in 2015 was Pro Bowler Tramon Williams from the Packers. On paper the Browns had four Pro Bowlers starting including Joe Haden, Donte Whitner, and Tashaun Gipson. During the draft, Farmer picked two potential starting cornerbacks in Louisville’s Charles Gains and Oregon’s Ifo Ekrpe-Olomu. Fans didn’t get a chance to see Ekrpe-Olomu this season due to a torn ACL he suffered during Oregon’s playoff game against Florida State. Before the injury he was predicted to be a top 10 pick in the draft. Getting him in the 7th round could have been the biggest steal in the draft. If he works out, fans could say Farmer made up for the Justin Gilbert pick. The snowball effect happened to the whole team in general but it seemed to hit the defensive backs harder than anyone else. Haden gets two concussions and only plays five games the whole season. Whitner and Gipson suffer injuries throughout the season. Charles Gains misses half the season but comes back and does a solid job. Pierre Desir got a lot of playing time this season and showed some flashes of a reliability on the field. Despite the praise Pettine gave Gilbert during practices, you rarely saw the 1st rounder step onto the field. He had no problem joining Manziel, Gordon, and Bryant to the list of Browns players getting bad media attention. Fans still sit here day dreaming of using that pick on Sammy Watkins or Odell Beckham Jr. But I digress. Fans and analyst questioned how the talent was being used by Jim O’neal. I remember Browns legend Bernie Kosar breaking down bad defensive play calls in the middle of the season. This made me believe coach had a lot to do with their issues. Again, we need to pull for Ray Horton. Some flashy names in free agency include Prince Amukamara, Josh Norman, Janoris Jenkins, Eric Weddle, and Eric Berry. Prediction: Browns sign Tashaun Gipson to a long term deal. They may add a player or two sometime this coming offseason, but I don’t see them loading up on defensive backs. Then again, come draft time they surprise people. I can see them finding a younger strong safety to learn from Whitner since he’s nearing the end of his career. Justin Gilbert’s days are done in Cleveland. Coaching will turn this squad around.

Current Grade: B+

 

Special Teams: Say what you want about the handful of block kicks they had, this special teams unit came through when they are needed. Travis Coons set the record for most field goals made in row for a rookie kicker. Andy Lee came in and had a Pro Bowl type season after being traded from the 49ers. But don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of room for improvement. For starters, blocked kicks need to stop. The problem, unfortunately, was the blocking from the 1st round picks, Danny Shelton and Cameron Erving. There needs to be better preparation in order to prevent that. This is the first time this team has had this problem, believe it or not. The next issue that needs to be presented is kick and punt returning. Browns are still looking for the next Josh Cribbs. Travis Benjamin showed flashes of it the past few years, especially in punt returns. But after a few fumbles and a promotion to starting wide receiver, the team went with other options. I understand new NFL rules have ruined the kick return game, but there has to be something done to avoid average returns. Coach Jackson has retained Chris Tabor as coordinator. He has been with Cleveland since Pat Shurmur was hired. Four different coaches? Give the guy some credit, he’s done something right to stay with them all. Despite these problems the team stays aggressive when kicking off, Coons has made field goals, and Lee can boot the pig skin with the best of them. Yes, I know special teams isn’t something to brag about, but it’s one of their only bright spots. Prediction: Haslam’s analytics crew finds two returners to help the team with their return issues. Andy Lee stays as punter. Travis Coons had a great season, but when there’s room for improvement there will be changes. Browns will make the case he is accurate but his leg strength could be better. They don’t want a Billy Cundiff situation all over again. Fans will wake up one morning and it will be like Christmas. Did they get their quarterback? No, don’t be silly. But a fan favorite will return to Cleveland. They’ll turn on their morning news and find out that free agent Phil Dawson has decided to return the shores of Lake Erie. He will spend his last seasons in a Browns uniform. I hope I’m right.

Current Grade: B+