Final Browns thoughts -until the draft
Spending a snowy weekend, and particular Sunday where I’ve shoveled constantly, and finally taking a break with some final Browns thoughts for now. This will be somewhat of a breakdown of positions and some predictions of what may happen in FA and the draft. These will also be last thoughts until the draft. After this it will be general posts in sports and anything else going on.
- Quarterback — I think Baker will be brought back and they will see how he plays healthy and determine if the issues this past season were predominately injury related or deeper. I also think they will replace Case Keenum with better veteran or upcoming QB to challenge Baker in case things go south again. I think the leash with Baker will be a lot shorter than usual and if things start to go south early, that might be it for him with the Browns. Also I don’t think they will draft a quarterback in this years draft, I think in addition to the veteran they keep Nick Mullens around and try to develop him and see where that goes.
- Running backs — Outside of Chubb and Hunt, I will be curious to see what D’Ernest Johnson does. He might get a lot more money elsewhere, and quite frankly, he should take it. If that happens, I see Demetric Felton replacing him and Browns either via FA or draft getting another late round back like Felton. John Kelley was a practice squad guy but not sure if Browns will really work with him or not. They had a few opps with him and nothing really stood out.
- Offensive line — I think Jed Wills will be tested this upcoming year as there was chatter from fellow teammates and even some coaches on whether Wills understood how to play with pain and gave a good enough work ethic. I think the team will actively replace Jack Conklin, he’s too injury prone and I dont think they want to risk it. Chris Hubbard will probably be kept and he might be a starter, who knows. While I credit James Hudson and Michael Dunn and others, they just weren’t good enough. This offensive line needs to improve. A possible shocker, Browns move forward with Nick Harris and let go of JC Tretter at center.
- Tight ends — Hooper is gone for sure. They will build around Njoku and Harrison Bryant. They might either develop another tight end via their squad or grab someone via FA or draft at a smaller scale.
- Wide receivers — outside of QB this will be the most watched position this offseason. I think if Jarvis Landry stays, its because he still believes in the team and is willing to take a small pay cut to develop a high first round draft pick (which will be WR). I also think Browns will get a WR via free agency as well, maybe even a trade, if possible. Who will the FA and draft WR be. My best guess is they go after Cedric Wilson from Dallas and via draft Drake London (who played well despite inconsistent QB play while at USC). Yes Garrett Wilson is the guy but London is really good and played well under terrible circumstances. I wouldn’t be opposed with Wilson via draft, but I think it will be London. Higgins will be gone, Schwartz will be utilized in special situations but probably developed some more. High expectations for DPJ who if he cant take next steps, might be gone after 22 season. Very interesting position to watch.
- Defensive line — they will work to get an interior guy and probably Tommy Togai gets promoted and has chance to be starter. I think they also work to keep Clowney and maybe grab another decent edge rusher.
- Linebacker — I see them grabbing a guy in the middle and build around JOK and Jacob Phillips. I think Walker hangs around as veteran but they need someone better. Mack Wilson is a prime special teams guy who helps in certain situations, and ditto for Sione Takitaki who could possible be let go and explore other options. Malcom Smith might also be gone too as he will be above 30 years old and Browns may want to bring in more youth
- Corners/Safeties — Ronnie Harrison will be gone, MJ Stewart outplayed him last half of season. Browns may explore beefing up secondary some more via FA and draft but I think they roll this crew back again with another season in the system. The unit ended season very well but not good enough
Overall I think AB and staff will go after offensive firepower at all positions this off season. If the offense was just above average with way defense was playing, Browns would be like Bengals this postseason. It’s apparent the Browns need playmakers on offense. If Baker can’t get back to 2020 levels or better, that might be it for him. I think that will be the test for him. Browns still have lot of talent and coaching staff will need to adjust accordingly. GO BROWNS!!