The 2023 NFL season has been the campaign that Cleveland Browns fans have been dreaming of for years. While season-ending injuries to Deshaun Watson and Nick Chubb weren't part of the plan, the Browns sitting at 7-3 heading into Week 12 is something that should be celebrated.
If head coach Kevin Stefanski wants to be a hero in Cleveland for years to come, he must do everything to ensure the Browns don't crumble down the stretch. That means keeping the dead weight off the field in favor of players who are willing to contribute to winning football games and, of course, the AFC North crown.
With that in mind, here are three Browns who must be benched before the playoffs.
3 Browns Who Must Be Benched Before Playoffs
1. James Hudson III, OT
James Hudson III is the first player whom Stefanski must consider benching for the remainder of the campaign.
Drafted 110th overall back in 2021, the third-year offensive lineman still doesn't look like an everyday NFL player. That's highlighted by the fact that he's only started in nine of his 38 career appearances (23.7%) and has never played more than 38% of offensive snaps in a season.
Unfortunately, injuries to the offensive line mean Browns fans have seen more of Hudson than they've wanted this year. He's been dreadful more often than not, playing to a 39.7 overall grade, per Pro Football Focus. Not only is that the second-worst among Cleveland's offensive players, but it also leaves him dead last among 82 graded tackles across the NFL.
You only need to look at Hudson's last two games to get a better idea of just how bad he is. During that span, he's allowed eight pressures, six hurries, one sack, and a quarterback hit while taking four penalties. There's just no way that sort of play will help the Browns come playoff time.
If Stefanski is smart, the time to bench Hudson is now.