The Future of the Cleveland Browns

Written by: Johnny Pugach

Following a heartbreaking Week 14 loss of the 2017 NFL season to the Green Bay Packers in overtime after LEADING by two scores, it has become abundantly clear that the Cleveland Browns are once again in darkness. However, in the midst of all this darkness, Jimmy Haslam, one of the Browns owners, was able to shed a bit of light on the city of Cleveland and quite possibly their football team. Haslam went out last week and fired their former General Manager, Sashi Brown. Who after two seasons, held a record of 1-27. I don’t care who you are, but a record like that is just abysmal and changes desperately needed to be made. The small shed of light that stands out in the darkness is the newly hired general manager, John Dorsey. Dorsey served as the Kansas City Chiefs GM from 2013-2016. Under that time, the Chiefs recorded a 43-21 record, which at that time was the fourth highest winning percentage over that small span.

Now Dorsey is coming into a very interesting situation in Cleveland. Despite being atrocious over the past few seasons, Dorsey will get to work with quite a well-positioned team for the future. Dorsey inherits SIX extra picks in April’s NFL draft (two first rounders, two seconds, a fourth and a fifth.) Additionally, Dorsey will receive almost $100 million in salary-cap space. For those who did not know, the Cleveland Browns own the Houston Texans first round pick because of draft-day trade that happened during the 2017 NFL draft. The Browns traded down from No.12 to No.25 for the Houston Texans to draft Deshaun Watson at No. 12, Man, what a bad move that was.

However, the Cleveland Browns now get a chance to redeem themselves. Estimating the final records for each team of the 2017 season, the Browns will 100% own the first overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. Additionally, the Texans are projected to finish with a record of 5-11, which will give them an estimated 6th overall pick in the 2018 draft (belonging to Cleveland). Now John Dorsey also traded a first round pick himself to get QB Patrick Mahomes, the future of the Kansas City Chiefs, who was the most talented QB coming out of the 2017 draft in my personal opinion. With two PREMIUM first round picks, John Dorsey and the Cleveland Browns can make some drastic changes for their organization.

Dorsey has stated that he sees a lot of potential in their current rookie QB Deshone Kizer, who has played in twelve of the thirteen games the Browns have had this year. On the year through fourteen weeks so far, Kizer has thrown for (201-373) 2,252 yards with 9 TD’s and 17 INT’s. But that does not mean that he will not go after one of the highly praised QB’s coming out of the 2018 draft class. Between Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Lamar Jackson (Heisman finalist) and Baker Mayfield (Heisman winner), GM John Dorsey would be hard-pressed not to go after one of those talented QB’s as the Cleveland Browns future QB in a passing league. Rosen, the more polished QB of the group is the better looking QB as of right now, but Darnold has a much higher ceiling for the next level. Darnold, with two full seasons at the University at Southern California, recorded (523/801) 6,873 yards, 57 TD’s and 21 INT’s. I see Darnold performing big in the Cotton Bowl, looking forward to the NFL draft with his time at USC behind him, and being drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the first overall pick. Now comes the very intriguing part of this 2018 NFL draft, the Browns second premium first round pick. The Cleveland Browns have not had a RB go for over 1,000 yards on a season since Peyton Hillis during the 2010 season where he also added 11 TD’s on the year. The Browns have had one of the better offensive lines in football this season, yet RB Isaiah Crowell has still failed to produce despite that O-line. On the season, Crowell has rushed for 2 TD’s, 716 yards on 174 attempts (4.1 YPA)/ 23 receptions for 190 yards. No, these stats are not horrible, but definitely not where the Cleveland Browns thought they would be with Crowell coming into the season fresh and ready to go, and with the hype surrounding their O-line. This is where Dorsey’s premium first rounder comes into play. With the sixth overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, I predict the Cleveland Browns selecting Saquon Barkley out of Penn State. In his three-year college career at Penn State, Barkley racked up 3,706 yards on 653 attempts (5.67 YPA) adding 41 rushing TD’s/ 95 receptions for 1,157 yards and 8 passing TD’s. Quite the resume for a team in desperate need of a spark at RB and on offense.

General Manager John Dorsey is known for his big moves for players, and this is definitely a big move for the Cleveland Browns to make. Come draft day on April 26th, 2018, the Cleveland Browns will be the team the world is watching. Will owner Jimmy Haslam and GM John Dorsey bring the Browns out of this darkness they’ve been trapped in for the past ten years and into the light behind two new college phenoms? We’ll have to wait to find out…

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