Gino Spadaro, April 1, 2017:
Yes, I know. Some of you may think this is an April Fools joke because of the day this was posted. But it is far from that. The Cleveland Browns, heading into next season, have an opportunity to be the most loaded they have been since the mid-80’s. Seriously.
So far during this off-season, the Browns have addressed their biggest issue, which is the offensive line, by adding two starting-worthy linemen. By adding C, JC Tretter, and G, Kevin Zeitler, and with the return of G, Joel Bitonio, along with pro-bowler and future hall of famer T, Joe Thomas, the Browns now have an offensive line that can not only help protect their QB, but help RB Isaiah Crowell (who according to Football Outsiders is a top-1o RB in the league) move the ball on offense. The only spot left to address on the OL is right tackle, which I firmly believe will be addressed either through the draft or someone who is already currently on the roster will emerge and be solid at the position.
Also, and this is still a long shot, if Josh Gordon is able to come back, he will be accompanied by 1,000 yard receiver Kenny Britt and Corey Coleman, who is young and has a ton of promise. I 100% believe that with all of these pieces, Cody Kessler, who was pretty solid last year, can be good, really good. Now that Kessler has an offensive line who can actually block for him, he has no excuse for poor play. If Kessler doesn’t produce next year, THEN the Browns should address the QB situation. But last year, with an extremely incompetent offensive line and receiving core, Kessler completed 66% of his passes and had a TD/INT ratio of 3:1. I think he will be just fine with this new-look Browns offense.
Defensively, if the Browns draft Myles Garrett, who is said to be a can’t-miss guy, they will fix the issue on the defensive line and will be extremely young in the trenches and should be phenomenal for the next several years. Also, I expect either Jamal Adams or Malik Hooker to be available at #12 in the draft, and if the Browns can get either one of those dudes, then they will have addressed the problem at the safety position. One thing is for sure. If Ed Reynolds (yeah, I still don’t know who he is or where he came from) is still the starting safety for the Browns next year, then the Browns will continue to get riddled in the passing game. I can’t see a scenario where both Adams and Hooker are drafted before #12.
At CB, the Browns will return Joe Haden, who has been solid throughout his career, and some young guys by the names of Jamar Taylor and Briean Boddy-Calhoun, who both showed that they can play at a high level in the secondary. If the Browns add a guy like Adams or Hooker, their secondary will be young and very, very solid. Especially if they have a guy like Myles Garrett, who if he’s as good as scouts say he will be, coming off the edge, then the Browns shouldn’t have to cover for very long before getting pressure on the QB, which will force early, inaccurate throws resulting in turnovers.
Lastly, at the LB position, the Browns return two very good players by the names of Christian Kirksey and Jamie Collins. Kirksey was among the league leaders in tackles last year and Collins is a pro bowl-caliber guy. So at the LB position, depending on what defense new DC Greg Williams wants to run, the Browns are already really good.
Yeah, I said it. The Browns have an opportunity to be the greatest turn around in league history if handled properly. This team is extremely young and has the potential to be very, very dangerous at each and every position. If what I said actually happens in the draft, which is a highly likely scenario, then there is absolutely no reason why they can’t compete for an AFC North title next year and for years to come.