Cleveland Browns: 4 biggest questions heading into the 2020 season

Cleveland Browns Chris Hubbard (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns Chris Hubbard (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns Grant Delpit (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

How will rookies do?

A lot of experts act like drafting rookies will somehow solve the problems the team had in the years prior. Except, that’s rarely ever the case. Most draft classes will be likely to retain two or three players just a few years later. Expecting a pro bowler? You have a 10% chance of landing one based on stats fro 2000-2007. As for Hall of Fame talent? Well, from 1996 to 2003 there has been 17 Hall of Famers so far. That’s across 2000+ players selected across the time period. That’s a percentage of 0.8%.

The average starter in the NFL will have much higher odds of sticking around, but when you realize how fast the turnover rate for the said player is in the NFL, then you realize just how dramatically improbable it is to rely on rookies to perform at a high level. Realistically three players from the Cleveland Browns 2020 draft will even be on the team in three or four years. Sure there are outliers, but keep in mind the 2013 (zero), 2014 (one) 2015 (zero), 2016 (one), and 2017 (three) drafts have a total of five players remaining. You can’t even say that the players that were taken were busts or poor selections as there are still 19 players from those draft classes on NFL teams, and a 20th in the CFL. 12 of those players are from the 2015 and 2016 classes as well.

You know all that hoopla around a fourth-round pick? Odds are he gets dusted by 2022.

Who will step up on defense?

The team had holes on defense before the team let Pro Bowl linebacker Joe Schobert and starting safety Demetrius Randall go. The team was 22nd in the league in yards given up on defense. The sad thing is they were 7th in the league in pass defense but 30th in the league in rushing yards allowed. Sure, some will say “BLAH BLAH BLAH JOE SCHOBERT…”. The pro bowl, tackling machine was the issue? Not the near-bust Sheldon Richardson? Not the left end of the line which saw players rotating out faster than Hue Hefner rotated Bunnies?

Now, what happens to the pass defense the team had? Relying on oft-injured safeties from other teams, backups at linebacker, and hoping Olivier Vernon stays healthy? Someone will need to step up on defense. Maybe someone will, that isn’t named Denzel Ward or Myles Garrett.

Or and more likely, the defense may be worse than last year because you replaced the best cover linebacker with a career backup on a team desperate for linebackers.