The Cleveland Browns had a stellar defense in 2013, but their quarterback situation was a complete catastrophe. It should be apparent to every team in the NFL that success is based around one position and without a quality quarterback, you just can’t win consistently.
25. Cleveland Browns (2013 Record: 4-12)
The Browns showed flashes early in 2013, especially on defense, but something happened after their Bye in Week 10 and they dropped their final seven games. With their turnover machine on offense, their defense gave up just 19.2 points per game through Week 10, but in the final seven games it jumped to 29.9 points per game. If that doesn’t reek of a time giving up on their coaching staff, I don’t know what does!
Key Losses: T.J. Ward, Greg Little, D’Qwell Jackson, Davone Bess, Shawn Lauvao, Jason Campbell
Key Acquisitions: Ben Tate, Donte Whitner, Karlos Dansby, Andrew Hawkins, Earl Bennett, Miles Austin, Jim Dray, Paul McQuistan, Isaiah Trufant, Nate Burleson
In free agency, the new Browns coaching staff was aggressive early and often. I think they did everything they could to break free of their loser culture, but you just never know. If these players do not work out, then it will be another year in the top 5 of the NFL Draft. The biggest wild card will be the progression of Johnny Manziel. If he is yet another bust, then the Browns could be the worst football team in the NFL next season.
The schedule in 2014 should not present huge problems if the Browns truly do turn the corner this year. If they are even marginally average this year, they would have no less than eight winnable games. However, I am not putting any faith into a perennial loser just yet.
Projected Record: 5-11
Kyle: I liked the Justin Gilbert pick a lot. And that’s all I have to say about that.
Jon: Johnny Football may make the Browns actually worth watching this season. Gordon’s potential suspension hurts, but their offense will still be entertaining.
Topher: The Browns are a team that people seem to hype every year and incredibly talented but with the loss of their #1 and #3 WR and a rookie at QB with no run game, it’s hard to see this team succeed. While they possess a fantastic offensive line it won’t matter much with Manziel at QB, ask the Broncos line what blocking for a QB like that is like. The Browns do benefit from the continuing fall of the Steelers though and their defense alone could be the reason they move up from the bottom to #3 this season.
Jacob: I am a fan of the Manziel pick by the Browns, if only because it gives them a reason to be relevant again. The Browns are a team, like the Vikings, who are a quarterback away from challenging for their division title. The loss of Josh Gordon hurts a lot, but this team should still challenge the Ravens and Steelers in the AFC North. 6-8 wins.
Laurie: Not only are the Browns likely to start a rookie QB, they are going to do it with the man who will be the NFL’s biggest bust in 2014. There, Dawg Pound, I said it. And that equals another year in a familiar place – bottom of the AFC North. (though, I do look forward to Justin Gilbert making Joe Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger look bad.)
Pete: The most dysfunctional ownership group in the entire NFL once again shows that a leopard can’t change its spots. They know they were losing Gordon, so what do they do? They draft an overhyped QB and refuse to address the WR position. Like Blake Bortles, I have to ask, “Who will their QB throw to?”