The Browns had one of the least efficient draft classes of 2020 for a variety of reasons but at the end of the day, this isn’t good.
The Browns draft class of 2020 wasn’t good. It might be one day, but after one year, it’s looking rough. You can sit here and say “They didn’t have a full camp!” until you’re blue in the face, but the Bengals (1st), Colts (2nd), and Buccaneers (3rd) didn’t either. Yet, PFF ranked them at the top of their board while the Browns came in 19th. There are no excuses for the way they played. The rookie Browns, at least through their first year, just didn’t get live up to the hype.
So why did PFF rank the Browns 19th? Here’s what they had to say;
"19. Cleveland BrownsWhy they’re ranked here: Cleveland had four picks on Days 1 and 2 of the draft, but none of the players selected made a positive impact. Second-round pick Grant Delpit missed the campaign with a torn Achilles, and the other three — offensive tackle Jedrick Wills Jr., defensive end Jordan Elliott and linebacker Jacob Phillips — all generated negative PFF WAR.How their top pick fared: Entering his rookie campaign, Wills was expected to bring a lot of value to the table with his run blocking in Kevin Stefanski’s wide zone attack while suffering through a learning curve when it came to true pass sets. The opposite occurred. Wills ranked 15th among left tackles in pass-blocking grade but fifth-to-last in run-blocking grade."
None of what PFF wrote is wrong. Whether you’re an analytics guy or not. The Browns had four Pro Bowl-caliber players on the line (when Wyatt Teller was healthy) and Wills was constantly the weak link. He also regressed as the year went on as well, having some of his biggest blunders in the second half of the season.
This isn’t an indictment against the young man, but he clearly did not mature the way the Browns were hoping for him to do. His decision-making was putrid, especially in the final weeks, both on and off the field. He was out-performed by just about every tackle taken after him in the first round to boot. He can still turn into the guy he needs to be for the team, in fact, he’s already good enough. If this is Wills’ peak, that’s ok. He’s an NFL starter. He’s not, however, a Top 10 pick, at least not after the first year.
No criticism towards Delpit, we’ll see what he can do after he recovers but it’s a devastating injury so the odds aren’t in his favor. Phillips and Elliot, however, were among the worst players on the team. They made no impact whatsoever, nor did late-round pick Nick Harris.
Harrison Bryant out-performed his draft position but he’s far from an NFL starter as of today, and Donovan Peoples-Jones sure made people look at him twice, but like Bryant, isn’t an NFL starter right now. Both men might be in a year or two, and heck, maybe Phillips and Elliot break out in 2021 as Pro Bowl-caliber players.
More than likely not, however. Players taken in the 2nd or 3rd round only turn into starters 30% of the time, while players later than only 26% of the time. Moreover, when looking at the NFL Draft of 2016, only 22% of all players remained on the team past their first contract. Another 39% were on a different team, and roughly 41% were out of the league by the end of the 2020 season. Even if a player does make it to a second contract, only 11% of the total players that got drafted will make a Pro Bowl or All-Pro team anyway.
If we go by the league average for the 2016 draft class, then one player from the 2020 class is expected to be on this team by the time we hit 2024.
So you can “give them time” or “they need camp” all you want, but more than likely, most of this draft class won’t be around for a second contract. Especially after a rough rookie year. Fair or not.