The Cleveland Browns may well be the worst team in professional sport. Now, we’re completely against the bloody American term ‘winningest’, but if you can add a synonym and say that Cleveland are the ‘losingest’ team, then we may temporarily accept it.
In a league where the salary cap and draft system is set up so teams at the bottom of the barrel improve year-on-year, it seems inconceivable that any team could be this bad for this long – yet here we are. The Browns have won just one game in two years – against the San Diego Chargers [sic] in 2016.
So how is it now even possible, let alone plausible, that they go on and make the playoffs? Well, here’s four reasons why:
When’s the last time Cleveland had one quarterback capable of getting things done in the NFL, with even a somewhat proven track record? A long time ago is the answer you’re looking for. In Tyrod Taylor, they’ve got a talented signal-caller as well as someone with a chip on his shoulder. His treatment in Buffalo last year was appalling and he’ll be out to prove a point.
Taylor aside, they’ve got a veteran presence in the locker room with Drew Stanton. He’s always been a utility guy in the league, but he’s spoken so highly of in so many circles. His leadership creates direction and focus – with little pressure on the man himself.
Explosiveness at Wideout:
So, this time last year we were looking at Corey Coleman at being the Browns’ chief threat on the outside. Now, he’s bookended by the incredible duo of Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry. Honestly, there may not be a better pairing in the league.
Gordon was finally reinstated to the league last year after a lengthy suspension for a scroll of offences, and nobody expected him to be as good as he was upon his return. However, he’s looked nothing short of All-Pro level. The Browns’ blockbuster trade of the off-season was landing Landry from Miami – he’s twenty-five and been to three consecutive Pro Bowls.
Add in David Njoku at tight end and we’re looking at quite an arsenal of weapons for whatever QB ends up taking the snaps in Ohio this year.
Over the course of the last couple of years, Cleveland have drafted very well on this side of the ball, bar maybe Jabrill Peppers.
Carl Nassib was a terrific selection from Penn State, Emmanuel Ogbah has looked elite when he’s healthy, they stole Caleb Brantley in the sixth round because of his criminality, but he’s looked as good as his college tape advertised.
That’s leaving out the potentially special Myles Garrett who really flashed his ability at various stages of last season. The consensus best player in the 2017 NFL Draft, Garrett will expect a huge season this year.
It’s a very rare occurrence that any team has two first-round picks in the opening ten picks, let alone the first four picks. Cleveland could theoretically land the most hyped running back prospect of all time in Saquon Barkley as well as their future starter at the quarterback position. Think about it – that’s a haul nobody should be able to take home, yet it seems a very real possibility.
In what is the deepest draft class talent-wise in the last fifteen years, Cleveland have five picks in the first sixty-four. They can upgrade all over the field and almost instantly become better than the Bengals and Ravens.