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Cleveland Browns Season Preview: A Roster Built To Win, but Will They?

Oct 8, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett (95) celebrates after sacking New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown (not pictured) during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns can only go up. Literally, 0-16 is the worst you can get in the NFL. Before we start this journey through a pretty fascinating roster let me say something: why is Hue Jackson still the head coach? I’m done with Browns fans excuses, the team had enough talent to win four to five games last year. Yet Jackson couldn’t maximize it, 7 games total, 7 they lost because of Jacksons inability to manage the clock. There were also points that it looked like the team just gave up on him. The offense was awful and that’s supposed to be Jacksons strong suit. One win over two seasons in any other organization is unacceptable. The Browns are a dysfunctional tire fire though so I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that they don’t have good self esteem as an organization. If I was Haslam if Jackson starts 0-4, there’s a good chance he does, I fire him on the spot. If he doesn’t win four games or more this year Jacksons run in Cleveland needs to be over.
Jackson stans, I can not believe those exist, will not have any excuses to fall back on this year. Tyrod Taylor joins the Browns and though he was never loved by the Bills, he is a passable starting QB, something the Brown’s haven’t had for years. I would expect Taylor to start but if they start 1-3 or worse in the first four games the Browns will switch to number one overall pick Baker Mayfield. Mayfield is by far the best rookie QB the Browns have had in recent history. He seems like a natural leader and is physically gifted. If he can learn to throw into NFL windows he could finally be the Brown’s answer at QB. Expect Taylor to start but rest assured we will see Mayfield at some point this year.
The Browns running back room is very impressive. Carlos Hyde, aka the most underrated back in the leauge will most likely get the starting job. Hyde put up good numbers with the niners last year and is a very exciting back to watch. He struggles with ball security sometimes but he’s explosive and slippery and reminds me a lot of Lesean McCoy when he runs. Duke Johnson will be the pass catching back, Johnson was the Browns best offensive player last year. Don’t sleep on Nick Chubb either the rookie should get some quality touches in 2018, this backfield is full of intrigue.
Even more intriguing though is the Browns receiving core. Josh Gordon proved in four weeks of playing time last year that he is still in his prime and according to all accounts he’s in the best shape of his life. Pair that with Jarvis Landry, who I believe is over hyped but still a quality second receiver and you have a really nice tandem. Then throw in David Njoku the man I believe to be the second coming of Gronk and dare I say it, this offense becomes fun. If rookie Antonio Callaway can clean up his act and Corey Coleman can stay healthy suddenly you could make a strong argument that this is one of the best receiving corps in the leauge.
The offensive line lost a legend in Joe Thomas, however it’s still decent. Kevin Zeitler is a top NFL guard and Austin Corbett best suited as a guard will fill the Joe Thomas left tackle role. If the line can be average though it will be better than what Taylor had in Buffalo.
The Browns defense is a sleeping giant. If Myles Garrett is what people say he is for a whole season paired with Emmanuel Ogbah and former Eagles linebacker Mychael Kendrick’s this is the best pass rush in the division arguably. Then you look at the uber talented linebacking core, Jaime Collins, Christian Kirksey and the aforementioned Kendrick’s. This is potentially the best linebacking core in the AFC North and ok I will say it, this is the best defense in the AFC North. You could argue the corner position is week but Denzel Ward should fix that and I think that Jabrill Peppers will make a major jump in his second year as he showed wonderful flashes in his rookie year.
This happens every year for me. I look at the Browns roster and I say “dear god Eric this should be a no brainer playoff team” then I proceed to predict they will go 10-6 and they let me down immediately. Hue Jackson is the poison that will keep me from picking good things for this team until I see them though. I believe the Browns will be really fun to watch this year though there record may not reflect that.
Ceiling: 11-5
Floor: 2-14
Record Prediction: 4-12

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