0-16 in 2017.
1-31 in the past two seasons.
No team has been more inept in the past 20 years than the Cleveland Browns. They have had one winning season in the past 15 years. One. Last season started with optimism. The draft class at first glance for the Browns was solid; Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, David Njoku, and Deshone Kizer. All players with significant upside. During the preseason, they went 5-0. But as any NFL fan is aware, the preseason means absolutely nothing. Red flags surrounded the Browns, the rookie QB Kizer beat out Osweiler and every other QB on the team. Trial by fire as it relates to the QB position tends to never yield favorable results. Kizer is a raw prospect and it showed throughout the season. The Browns were in a lot of their games, they showed determination. Even after losing their best player in Joe Thomas, they kept fighting. Unfortunately, the position of QB requires you to limit mistakes and Kizer couldn’t get out of his own way. Coach Hue Jackson tried to replace him at various points in the season, but with the lack of talent surrounding the position, Kizer was really the only choice they had.
The front office didn’t make it any easier.
A trade for AJ McCarron was on the table before the deadline. All they needed was the semblance of competent quarterback play and they could avoid an 0-16 season. Unfortunately for Browns fans, this was an outcome that could not be avoided. This was the worst team in football once again, but no one blamed Hue Jackson. How could you? If you watched the Browns at any point and time during the season, the QB position was a disaster, the lack of inexperience was too much to overcome. It was time for the front office to give the Browns a chance to win and show the fans they care. Give Hue Jackson a chance to make some actual noise in a division in which they’ve been relegated to the cellar.
On Friday, March 9th, the Cleveland Browns did things out of the norm. They shook up their roster with various trades. First Jarvis Landry, a dynamic slot receiver from the Dolphins who was clearly looking for a change of scenery. They got him for a 4th and a 7th pick, which is a relatively small price to pay for a Pro Bowler. The next domino to fall was Tyrod Taylor, the unappreciated QB of the Buffalo Bills. He was one of the reasons why the Bills playoff drought ended but it was looking more and more likely that the Bills were going to discard him for a fresh start. While every analyst believes that the 3rd round pick was an expensive price to pay, he was clearly an upgrade for the Browns and his ball security was a definite need. To complete their whirlwind day, the Browns traded Deshone Kizer for Green Bay’s CB Damarious Randall. Although I think Kizer could’ve served as the backup QB for the Browns; he would’ve had the chance to learn ball security from Taylor, the Browns were looking to excise what brought them the most trouble last year.
The best part about all of this is that Cleveland still has all their primary draft picks.
Four picks in the first two rounds with the 1st and 4th pick in the first round. Clevalnd can further upgrade their offense by selecting dynamic RB Saquon Barkley AND WR Calvin Ridley. Put Calvin Ridley alongside Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landy, that might propel them to one of the more exciting wide receiver trios in the NFL. If the Browns felt like it, they could look to upgrade their secondary with S Michah Fitzpatrick or solidify their defensive line with DE Bradley Chubb. Hell, the Browns could select a QB to groom behind Tyrod Taylor, because Taylor may just be viewed as a bridge QB. The front office has a chance to redeem themselves. Hue Jackson has a chance to win as it allows the front office to finally evaluate their coach who has actual playmakers at his disposal. The Cleveland Browns, for the first time in 20 years have a chance to be relevant. They could change the narrative that their own ineptitude is preventing them from success.
It may be difficult to believe, but the Browns for the first time in a long time, are actually in control of their own destiny. Do it for the fans, but also, get Joe Thomas to the playoffs.