Part 1, Offense: Are the 2019 Cleveland Browns For Real?by Prime Time Sports Talk March 26, 2019 0 comments
As the 2019 NFL free agency period began, there were big signings that featured big money being handed out to many players from multiple teams, per usual. Some teams got “their guy,” but many others didn’t. Typical free agency.
Depth positions are filling up and teams are taking shape headed into the 2019 NFL Draft. So, where is the story at?
Well, believe it or not, the story lies in Cleveland. Yes, you heard me correctly: the Cleveland Browns are making moves and may be on their way to becoming a contender. Not just in the AFC North, but throughout the entire NFL. Let’s take a quick look at the Browns’ offseason thus far on the offensive side of the ball; then you can decide for yourself if the Cleveland Browns are for real.
Cleveland finished the 2018 campaign with a 7-8-1 record just one season after finishing with a 16-loss performance. With a rookie quarterback at the helm, that’s pretty darn good.
But what have they done to ensure this seasons Cleveland Browns continue to trend upward? Well, they have been active in the offseason, not just relying on draft picks to pull them from the bottom of the league as they have in the past. With their franchise quarterback in place, it’s time to build around him.
Before free agency began, the Browns made a splash by signing running back Kareem Hunt, who is the 11th-best running back in the league, pairing him with second-year standout (and 17th-best) running back, Nick Chubb. They also have the 44th-ranked running back, Duke Johnson Jr. Not too shabby.
Then, they made a few camp signings and depth moves with the likes of wide receiver Jaelen Strong, tackle Kendall Lamm, guard Eric Kush, and a solid No. 2 tight end Demetrius Harris, ranked 43rd overall. The Hunt and Harris signings should produce a lot of upside, but if that’s not enough, enter Odell Beckham Jr.
The Browns made headlines when they pulled the trigger on the Beckham trade. They gave up a first-round pick (No. 17), a third-round pick (No. 95), and safety Jabrill Peppers for Beckham, while also re-structuring a previous deal involving Kevin Zeitler and Olivier Vernon. Odell will make an impact immediately not just on the field, but in the locker room as well.
Ranked 17th in the league at the wide receiver position in 2018 after missing four games due to an injury, Beckham still racked up 77 receptions for 1,052 yards and six touchdowns. It appears that second-year quarterback sensation Baker Mayfield has a very reliable target to look for in this upcoming season.