NFL team preview: Why the Cleveland Browns are legit Super Bowl contenders
The Cleveland Browns proved they are good enough to be a playoff team last season. Now, they need to prove they are Super Bowl contenders. Our season preview of the Cleveland Browns.
Remember the days when you could pencil in a W for your team when Cleveland would come to town? Those days are over, as the Browns are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. They're no longer that bad team in those hideous brown and orange uniforms.
The transformation of the Browns has been incredible. GM Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski have done an incredible job building out this roster. What used to be one of the worst rosters in the NFL has turned into arguably the best roster in the league.
The future is bright in Cleveland, but are they good enough to compete with teams like the Chiefs, Bucs, and Bills?
Although the Browns had their best season in decades, there were still some concerns on the defense. They made sure to secure that secondary and made some significant moves. In free agency, they brought over John Johnson III and Troy Hill from the Rams. Those two were part of the best defense in the league with the Rams last season. If you don't know who Troy Hill is, he's the one that got into a fight with Sterling Shepard at joint practice.
They also used their first-round pick on cornerback Greg Newsome out of Northwestern. With Pro-Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward, this secondary looks promising. They look much better on paper than they did a year ago.
They also made some moves in the trenches. Cleveland is the next stop for Jadeveon Clowney to try to get his career back on track. After back-to-back injury-riddled seasons, it seems like Clowney's days as a dominant edge rusher are over. It doesn't mean he can't still give the Browns some quality work. It's all about staying healthy for him. They also signed veteran defensive tackle Malik Jackson to sure up that interior. Of course, they have a freak of a human being on the other side of Clowney. Probably the most physically gifted athlete in all of sports.
Myles Garrett has a real chance to win DPOY. He looks like a real life superhero. This man has muscles growing on muscles.
He makes a suit look like a wet suit. In order to get out of that thing, he probably has to rip it off Hulk Hogan style.
There is so much to love with this offense.
Their offensive line is one of the best, if not the best line in all of football. They are everything you expect in a Bill Callahan led group. With a good offensive line comes a good running game. The Browns have a great one-two punch in the backfield. Nick Chubb is one of the best running backs in the league. When you talk about the best pure runners of the football, he's definitely up there. Then you have Kareem Hunt, who's dynamic. He can run and catch as well as any back in the league. Hunt has carved out a nice role in Cleveland's offense since he was released by the Chiefs.
There's one question when it comes to this offense. How is OBJ going to look? When the Browns traded for OBJ coming off of Baker Mayfield's rookie season, many believed the Browns fleeced the Giants. With injuries and lack of production, we haven't seen the full potential of OBJ and Mayfield. Are we ever going to see it? Surprisingly, Baker plays better with OBJ off the field. Many point to the stats and take it as a fact, but I think it's pure coincidence. When OBJ is on the field, he's one of the most dynamic playmakers in the league. We'll have to wait and see if he can bounce back from that ACL injury.
Other weapons include Jarvis Landry and Rashad Higgins. They also have a good tight end duo with Austin Hooper and David Njoku. A very solid supporting cast for Baker.
Speaking of Baker, this is a big year for him. He's looking for that big extension every QB seems to get after their rookie contract. He didn't have eye-popping numbers last season, but he definitely took a step forward. That's the beauty of this offense. Baker doesn't need to go out and put the team on his back to win games. He can manage the game and make sure the talent around him gets their touches. If he does that, Baker should lock up that extension that will keep him in Cleveland for a while.
BEST VALUE FANTASY PLAYER
Jarvis Landry is going late in a lot of drafts. I know the Browns are a heavy run-first team, but with OBJ's shaky injury history, Landry is a solid depth pick-up for your team. A solid plug-and-play bench player for when your starters have a bye week.
TOTAL WIN PREDICTION
I love the over for 10 wins. Like I said earlier, the Browns are Super Bowl contenders. On paper, they have one of the best teams in football. In my opinion, the only thing that is going to bring this team down is injuries. Expect Cleveland to go very deep in the playoffs.
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