While some ownership deals drag on for weeks and months, the Cleveland Browns got sold this week without anything in the way of prior public knowledge. As soon as the new owner Jim Haslam III took the reigns of the organization, there was thought around the league that this could negatively affect the path that the Browns are taking by forcing them into a win-now mode that would disrupt their path under GM Tom Heckert.
But worry not Hogs. The Browns could actually surprise some in the heavy AFC North. Remember the success that the Bengals had last year with a rookie under center? Brandon Weeden could bring similar surprise into the city of Cleveland as he has all but locked up the job from Colt McCoy. While he is already one of the elder pivots in the league, he brings a strong arm to lead the team.
Then there is the Trent Richardson situation. The other star rookie on the Browns has the potential to instantly step in and be one of the most dangerous backs in the league. He will get all of the touches early in the season, and if he is able to handle the workload, a 1000 yard season is easily within his grasp.
But can the Browns win now? Yes.
Even though they have to face the Bengals, Steelers and Ravens twice a piece, there is a chance that they could open some eyes.
Then there is the X factor of the team. Josh Gordon. The prize of the supplemental draft this year, and a wideout that has some of the highest boom or bust potential of any wideout in the league. There is no questioning the physical prowess of Gordon, standing 6-foot-3 and tipping in at over 220, the only question is whether he can learn how to be a pro. After not playing this past year at Baylor, nor at his attempted transfer school of Utah, he has the chance to step in and have an impact from day one.
Gordon has a similar story to Greg Little. The sophomore wideout came out of North Carolina last year after not having played a down in his senior year with the Tar Heels. He struggled to find chemistry with McCoy, but still managed to haul in 61 catches for over 700 yards. He only found paydirt a pair of times, but he fared well for having not played in a year. If he and Gordon can cause headaches for opposing secondaries, and Trent Richardson can get the ground game going behind All-League bookend Joe Thomas, watch of for these Browns.
The prevent will suffer from the loss of another impressive youngster. Nose tackle Phil Taylor tore a pectoral muscle lifting weights in the offseason, and will leave a hole gaping alone the line. But fellow lineman Jabaal Sheard had a solid rookie year and should be an intimidating force off the edge.
Joe Haden is one of the best young corners in the league, adding to players on the Browns that rank amongst the 'best young' at a given position. He has the makings of the next Revis Island, and seals off half of field for the rest of the defense.
Ownership will change nothing except for the fact that they have someone committed to winning leading the organization.