The Cleveland Browns have won just four games over their last three seasons. Last season, they joined the 2008 Lions as the second team in history to finish a season with a 0-16 record. They’ve finished last in the AFC North in thirteen out of their last 15 seasons. The last quarterback to start more than two consecutive seasons with the Browns was Tim Couch, who was the starter from 1999-2002.
In other words, the Browns are bad. Like, really bad.
But they’ve also been quite busy this offseason.
First and foremost, the Browns welcomed a new general manager in John Dorsey, who was hired in early December after former GM Sashi Brown was relieved of duty. Dorsey’s hiring was the first signal to Browns fans that there would be a lot of activity in the offseason.
In this year’s draft, the Browns had the first overall pick as well as the fourth overall pick, which they received in a trade from Houston. With the first overall pick, Cleveland did what everyone predicted they would: drafted the swaggy, confident Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield. Mayfield is the fifth QB to be drafted by the Browns in the first round since 1999, according to Sports Illustrated. The last one, “Johnny Football,” is now playing in the Canadian Football League. With the fourth overall pick, the Browns took Denzel Ward, the cornerback from that red and gray team out of Columbus. Ward will fill a huge hole in the Browns’ secondary.
In the second round, the Browns solidified their o-line with Austin Corbett, the guard out of Nevada who can play both inside and outside. They also boosted their running game with RB Nick Chubb from Georgia, who has a knack for powering through tackles to create space. And in the last four rounds, Cleveland added two wide receivers, a defensive end, a defensive back, and an inside linebacker.
Not only did Cleveland add some potentially big pieces in the draft, but they made some pretty big moves in the offseason as well. On March 14, the Browns made two big moves. They traded a 2018 fourth-round draft pick and a 2019 seventh-round pick to the Dolphins for Jarvis Landry, arguably one of the best slot receivers in the league. They also sent a 2018 third-round pick to the Bills in return for quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is an experienced and talented QB who has been Buffalo’s starter since 2015. It is expected that Taylor will be the starter for all of 2018, giving Baker Mayfield time to develop at the NFL level.
Another big bonus for Cleveland was the return of Josh Gordon. Gordon missed all of the 2015 and 2016 seasons, along with half of the 2017 season, after being suspended indefinitely by the NFL following his fourth violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. He is now one violation away from being permanently banned from the NFL. Despite his personal battles with addiction, when he’s been on the field, Gordon has been effective. In 2013, Gordon finished with 1,646 receiving yards in 14 games, including two straight 200-yard games. As long as he can stay clean, Josh Gordon will be a huge addition, and forms a dynamic 1-2 WR combo with Landry.
Cleveland definitely had the busiest offseason this year, and I think it will pay off. They added Tyrod Taylor to start while Baker Mayfield learns the ropes. They improved their run game with Nick Chubb. They added to their defense and their offensive line, and they picked up one of the best receivers in the league in Jarvis Landry, who will team up with Josh Gordon to lead the receiving corps. These moves, along with the numerous other small roster moves, will put the Browns in a position to win some ball games this season, which is more than what can be said for last season.
Will the Browns make the playoffs? No.
Will they be great? I doubt it.
Will they be good? Maybe.
Will they win a game? Yes. In fact, I think they could win three or four, at least. Plus, when you win zero games in a season, you can only go up from there, right Browns fans?