3. Cleveland Browns
Key Additions: LB B.J. Goodson (via free agency), OT Jack Conklin (via free agency), TE Austin Hooper (via free agency), QB Case Keenum (via free agency) DT Andrew Billings (via free agency), S Andrew Sendejo (via free agency), DE Adrian Clayborn (via free agency), S Karl Joseph (via free agency)
Draft Haul: OT Jedrick Wills JR, S Grant Delpit, DT Jordan Elliott, LB Jacob Phillips, TE Harrison Bryant, C Nick Harris, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones
Outlook: The 2019 off-season anointed “PAPER CHAMPS” crashed and burned last season to the tune of a 6-10 finish and another head coach getting fired.
Freddie Kitchens is out and former Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski is at the helm looking to get QB Baker Mayfield and the Browns heading back in the right direction. Mayfield struggled d last season throwing for 22 touchdowns while tossing 21 picks. This on the heels of a rookie season in which the former number one overall pick went for 27-14.
Mayfield will be out of excuses this season as the Browns added talent all over the field again this off-season despite last year’s spending frenzy debacle. Their running game boasts one of the NFL’s best backs in Nick Chubb and has Kareem Hunt in the fray as an elite level number two option.
The embarrassment of riches continues in the passing game as Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry form one of the NFL’s most potent one-two punches. Look for Beckham to turn in a massive bounce back season as he was hampered by injuries last season and still turned in his fifth 1000 yard campaign. Austin Hooper, who was fifth among tight ends in receptions, and Bryant join David Njoku to give the Browns three pass catching threats at tight end.
The Browns offensive line was dismal last season but they addressed it adding Conklin and Wills to be their new starting tackle duo. The Browns have gotten strong caliber play from Joel Bitonio and J.C. Tretter for a few years now leaving right guard as the biggest question mark on the offensive side of the ball.
There is less to like about the defensive side of the ball in Cleveland. Myles Garrett is a premiere pass rusher in the NFL when he isn’t bashing opponent’s heads in with their helmet. Larry Ogunjobi, Sheldon Richardson, and Olivier Vernon round out a capable defensive front.
However, the linebackers and secondary leave a bit more to be desired. The Browns letting Kirsey and Schobert walk with such little prospect behind them was interesting. Goodson joins a linebacking group that returns Mack Wilson and Sione Takitaki, both young and improving players but overall the group lacks high-end talent and depth.
On the back-end, Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward start at corner while Delpit joins Joseph as the new starting safety duo. Williams and Ward were both highly touted prospects coming out of college and they have the potential to grow into a strong cornerback tandem but they’re not quite there yet. Joseph is a re-tread arriving from Oakland and Delpit is a slight upgrade from day one.
Overall, the Browns have a ton of pieces on offense and they will need that group to be top 5-7 if they want to earn their first playoff berth since George W. Bush was in office.