2021 Team Outlook: Cleveland Browns
We have decided to take a look at all 32 NFL teams ahead of the preseason and break down the team position by position. Of course we will be finding all kinds of names that we desperately want to find signed jerseys, autographed helmets and all sorts of sports collectibles in our NFL live breaks. First up, the Cleveland Browns.
After being the laughing stock of the NFL for years, the Cleveland Browns are finally a team with some promise. There were always numerous problems, but the two biggest issues always seemed to come back to head coaching and the starting quarterback. Now with Kevin Stefanski and Baker Mayfield at the helm, the Browns have the leadership needed to make waves in the league.
Baker Mayfield led the unit to an 11-5 record and their first playoff win since they were an expansion franchise back in 1999. Although his numbers may not be as impressive as some of the other players at his position, the offense was much more run heavy and Baker was used more in a game manager type role more so than you would see in a traditional Air Raid or Spread type of offense. Still, 3,500 yards 26 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions is nothing to sneeze at. I think Baker takes another step forward in 2021 and we will see those numbers improve next season. Want to find an autographed Baker jersey? Click here!
We don't need to spend a lot of time on this position. The Browns have the best backfield unit in the NFL. The combination of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt is incredible considering individually both could legitimately be in the conversion for top 10 backs.
Overall, this position group has been a bit of a disappointment. Actually, most of the group has lived up to expectations, it’s really just the wide receiver 1 of this group that has been a disappointment. Odell Beckham came in and everyone thought he would once again unleashed, but that never happened. After an underwhelming 2019, Beckham missed most of 2020 due to injury. He could still easily bounce back, but its tough to imagine him being the same player that he was at age 23. Look for Donavan Peoples-Jones to potentially take a bigger role for this team this season.
Austin Hooper is currently the lead man in this group but Harrison Bryant and David Njoku are also part of the equation. This team isn’t afraid to use many 2 tight end sets and while I dont believe that individually any of these players will have big numbers, as a group this unit should be very effective.
This group had the highest rating in the NFL last season according to PFF. Lead by guards Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller, the Browns offensive line should be a top unit again. Watch for left tackle Jedrick Wills to take a leap forward this season after just an okay rookie campaign.
Despite all of the success of the offensive side of the football, the defense does have a few more issues. That being said the pass rush from Myles Garret and newly added Jadeveon Clowney are expected to be one of the top duos in the league. There are some concerns in the middle of the field though as the defensive tackle unit is very thin and weak against the run.
This is the true weakness of the team overall. They added Anthony Walker to a group that is expected to be starting Mack Wilson and Jacob Phillips. The hope is that highly regarded second rounder Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah from Notre Dame can become a force in the NFL and really carry this linebacking core.
The Browns secondary is expected to be much improved from the 2020 season. They added premiere safety John Johnson in free agency as well as corner Troy Hill. Then they spent their first round pick on Greg Newsome and are expected to have Grant Delpit and Greedy Williams healthy again after losing them for the year in 2020.