The Cleveland Browns have not impressed everyone with their offseason.
The Cleveland Browns are either going to be very very good, or the worst team in football. There doesn’t appear to be any middle-ground for this club after the offseason the club had. And which way the club goes depends on how good you think the new pieces of the team are going to be.
I think a nine-plus win season is very likely, and maybe even a playoff birth, but not everyone is sold on the concept of them making the playoffs, or even finishing in the top half of the league. ESPN did their post-free agent power rankings recently and had the Browns finishing 18th.
It should be noted that this is before the trade for Za’Darius Smith, but it’s hard to imagine that the evaluators would be swayed too much by one player being added to the team. Clearly, ESPN feels the Browns are more than just one good pass rusher away from being an elite team, or they’d have been higher than 18th.
"18. Cleveland BrownsPost-FA ranking: 19Most improved: Wide receiverThe Browns devoted much of this offseason to upgrading around franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson. Cleveland traded its second-round pick to the New York Jets to acquire speedy slot receiver Elijah Moore. Then the Browns used their highest remaining pick in the draft on third-round wideout Cedric Tillman. Cleveland also signed veteran Marquise Goodwin in free agency. The Browns struggled to find consistency at receiver in 2022, but Watson’s receiving corps should be much deeper and more prolific in 2023. — Jake Trotter"
The ESPN Power Ranking for the Cleveland Browns is fair
You may not like what you’re about to read, but it’s the truth; I agree with ESPN’s power ranking. Now, I don’t think the Browns are going to be a bad team, but I understand the methodology behind their selection. The Browns are not a team with a lot of players with proven track records. Whenever we talk about a player being added to the team, it’s often someone else’s cast off with “upside”.
Yes, guys like Elijam Moore and Juan Thornhill may be huge additions to the team, but they may also not be worth their roster spot. We’re not sure what this team could be because so much of the roster was turned over this offseason, and so many young, unproven players will be asked to carry the workload.
Yes, it could very well go the Browns’ way, it could also not. This is a conservative ranking for a team with a lot of unknowns. It’s an honest and fair evaluation considering the circumstances.