Let me make this clear, I said FUN, not best, improved, etc. With a few simple moves, the Browns can be really fun. All it takes is some high-risk, but most definitely high-reward moves between now and the NFL Draft.
As they are now, the Browns have some exciting young players, and possibly more importantly (for the average fan) they have some big name former college football players who have won games on a big stage.
On defense they have guys like recent first round picks Jabrill Peppers and Myles Garrett. They have proven NFL talent in Jamie Collins, Christian Kirksey, and some other sneaky good players like Damarious Randall and Joe Schobert. Peppers and Garrett were big name college players who have already shown they have what it takes to be good NFL players. Garrett led the team with 11 sacks his rookie season, and he missed some time with an ankle sprain. Jamie Collins was great in New England before being traded to the Browns. Joe Schobert had a breakout season last season proving that he deserves to be a starter. Finally, newly acquired Damarious Randall was the centerpiece of the DeShone Kizer trade to Green Bay because Cleveland knew he could be an instant starter.
On offense the Browns are currently (see next section) working with newly acquired quarterback Tyrod Taylor, a major upgrade from any QB on their roster since Derek Anderson went to the Pro Bowl. Tyrod has been highly underrated the last few seasons in Buffalo.
As for weapons the Browns have at their disposal, they have Josh Gordon back from suspension for a full season (finally), and Gordon is as talented as almost any receiver in the NFL when he is on. The Browns recently traded for Jarvis Landry, a speedy slot receiver that has been setting NFL reception records to begin his career. As a third receiving option, they have Corey Coleman who was one of the best receiving prospects coming out of Baylor.
Furthermore, the Browns still have Duke Johnson Jr. who has been an elite third down back, and even slot receiver in an attempt to get the ball in his hands, as well as second year tight end David Njoku who showed flashes of brilliance last season while leading the team in touchdown receptions in his rookie season out of Miami. David Njoku was Cleveland’s THIRD first round pick of the 2017 NFL draft.
Now, What Can The Browns Do To Be The Most Fun Team In The NFL?
1. Trade The #4 Overall Pick For Rob Gronkowski
Look, it’s pretty obvious that things are getting shaky in New England. Danny Amendola recently signed with the Dolphins and then spoke poorly of Bill Belichick and the culture in New England. Now Rob Gronkowski is not showing up to voluntary workouts for a variety of reasons. Most reports suggest he wants more money, and others are reporting that he is considering retirement to pursue a career in acting or professional wrestling. Last season ESPN reported a large problem in the Patriots locker room stemming from Tom Brady and his witch doctor Alex Guerrero. It feels like this may be the last season of Brady and Belichick, especially after the head scratching news that Josh McDaniels turned down the Colts head coaching job to stay as the Patriots’ OC. I think Brady will retire after this season, with Belichick not far behind him, and McDaniels will want to draft a QB in this year’s draft to be his sidekick when he takes over as head coach. Why else wouldn’t he have taken the Colts job?
With that being said, the Pats could get one of the best QBs in the draft with the Browns’ fourth overall pick, especially if the Giants don’t take a QB at #2 like some reports suggest. McDaniels could groom that QB under Brady all year, and when he rides off into the sunset with his supermodel wife, a new QB will step up in New England. However, it’s not easy to trade for a top pick, but the Pats (probably just Belichick) are becoming more and more frustrated with the best tight end of all time, Rob Gronkowski. Also, Belichick is known for getting rid of players too early rather than too late, so this feels like a move that would be beneficial to a mini-rebuild in New England.
***NOTE: I’m sure the Browns would need to add a little more than just the pick for Gronk, but nothing notable.
2. Draft Baker Mayfield #1 Overall
Yep. Baker Mayfield is the best QB in the draft. He also happens to be the most fun QB in the draft. Baker Mayfield is a perfect example of a recent trend that a lot of people in sports media have been talking about, quarterbacks who do nothing but WIN GAMES in college will keep winning in the NFL if they’re in the right situation. There’s something about a fierce leader whose team buys in to the way he does things that is just better than a work in progress that might not ever develop, like Josh Allen or Sam Darnold.
To me, Baker Mayfield will be like Deshaun Watson. Watson won a ton of games at Clemson, including a National Championship against Bama, and then seamlessly transitioned to the NFL and tore up the league before he tore up his ACL. Watson was on a record setting pace, leading the Texans to 31 points per game, and even setting the single game Texans scoring record with 57 points.
Mayfield went to the College Football Playoff twice in his three year Oklahoma career. He did nothing but win. He scored a ton of points and he was deadly accurate, setting an NCAA completion percentage record. He set that record slinging the ball down the field, too. Nothing will stop him from winning in the NFL if his team and coaching staff buy into him and let him express himself.
3. Draft The Best Running Back Available In Round 2
Since the Browns will miss out on Saquon Barkley with their first two picks, they should draft the best running back available to them with their first second round pick. They will likely get to take their pick of Ronald Jones II (USC), Nick Chubb (Georgia), Sony Michel (Georgia), Royce Freeman (Oregon), Kerryon Johnson (Auburn), or Rashaad Penny (San Diego State). Drafting a talented running back will be the last piece of their offensive puzzle. They should go ahead and draft some offensive lineman later in the draft to try and fill the void left by the retiring left tackle Joe Thomas.
4. Trade Tyrod Taylor To The Team Who Missed Out On A QB In Round 1
With my scenario, the Browns would get Baker Mayfield, the Jets would get Josh Allen or Sam Darnold, The Broncos would get Josh Allen or Sam Darnold, and the Bills would get Josh Rosen or whoever is left. The Giants might take a QB at 2 as well, but we will see. If they do take a QB at 2, the Bills and Dolphins will be looking for a QB. Those teams could try and draft a guy like Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph later in the draft, or they could trade for an established QB in Tyrod Taylor. The Browns would be seeking something like a second round pick, or maybe a starting offensive lineman or defensive lineman to fill out their squad.
Just imagine an offense that looks like this:
QB: Baker Mayfield
TE: Rob Gronkowski
TE/H-Back: David NJoku
RB: Nick Chubb/Duke Johnson Jr
WR: Josh Gordon
WR: Jarvis Landry
With a defense filled with extremely exciting athletes like:
CB/S: Jabrill Peppers
CB: Damarious Randall
DE: Myles Garrett
LB/DE: Jamie Collins
LB: Christian Kirksey
This team could win some games, especially in a division with Cincinnati and ever-mediocre Baltimore.
MAKE THE BROWNS FUN AGAIN