7-8, 3rd AFC North
Will Offensive Overhaul Be Enough? - Drafting Antonio Callaway, Baker Mayfield, and Nick Chubb puts a lot of offensive firepower on their side, but these names are looking more towards the future rather than just this year. Jarvis Landry, Tyrod Taylor, and Carlos Hyde were the already established names brought in, but Taylor and Hyde have questionable roles when you look at an entire season. While these names are definitely upgrades, is it enough to get them over the hump of an average defense and subpar coaching staff. There is nowhere to go up in consideration from last season, and while the wins might not come, they should be a more competitive team.
When Will Baker Mayfield Get His Turn? - Cleveland starting the season with Pittsburgh and New Orleans is likely going to give two losses off the bat, and while there are some winnable games in the first ten weeks, the losing season has likely already begun. Cleveland brought in Tyrod Taylor, which is a nice veteran presence, and he is expected to start the first few weeks of the season. As the season goes on, Baker Mayfield will likely get called upon by the team, and definitely the fans. Week 9 in a home game against Kansas City is the most optimal time to start him, as other road games and tough matches will be a downgrade for a first career start.
Another Committee Of Running Backs? - Cleveland went out and signed Carlos Hyde in free agency, paid Duke Johnson, and drafted Nick Chubb. This creates a bit of a headache for attempts and overall touches. There are 206 attempts and 42 targets up for grabs by Isaiah Crowell, but there are now two incoming running backs that are fighting for those touches. This is a spot where Hyde and Chubb might cut into each other’s upside, and this also might affect Duke Johnson, who is coming off a 1,000 all-purpose yard season. This is looking like a full blown committee, unless Hyde completely struggles and Chubb comes to life. Were The Offensive Line Needs Addressed? - The Browns allowed 50 sacks last season, and did not have a running back over 1,000 yards. They had real problems, and the offseason was an area where they did not address it entirely. They lost Joe Thomas, which is going to be a significant loss. They did sign Chris Hubbard and drafted Austin Corbett, which are potential upgrades, but time will tell. Looking at the top offensive lines, they all have an identifiable top tier lineman. Cleveland does not have that, and it should be on their check list for positions to add over the next offseason or two.
Will Younger Defensive Players Make The Jump? - The Browns defensively have been pedestrian over the last few seasons, but there are a lot of steps in the right direction. Myles Garrett has game changing ability, and in his second year the Browns will be looking for a major jump. They drafted Denzel Ward in this most recent draft, hoping he can help out in a secondary that struggled last year. Jabrill Peppers was a bit position-less heading into the draft, but the Browns are hoping he can hold down the safety role. There is potential for a core of players to start growing together, and can tip the scales back in the right direction.