The Comeback is previewing all 32 NFL teams from worst to first leading up to the start of the 2018 regular season on Sept. 6. Up next in our preseason rankings are the (finally rebuilt?) Cleveland Browns.
2017 in a nutshell: They make history, becoming just the second team in NFL history to lose all 16 games in a season. It marks the second straight year in which they fail to win multiple games.
What’s different: They’ve got two new quarterbacks in Tyrod Taylor and No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield, 2017 top pick Myles Garrett is healthy, and they upgraded significantly in free agency in March.
Why they could be awesome: They’ve got the talent now.
Why they could suck: Most of that talent is untapped.
Major additions: Taylor, Mayfield, No. 4 overall pick Denzel Ward, second-round running back Nick Chubb, second-round offensive lineman Austin Corbett, fourth-round wide receiver Antonio Callaway, veteran running back Carlos Hyde, offensive tackle Chris Hubbard, catch-happy wide receiver Jarvis Landry and veteran defensive backs Damarious Randall, Terrance Mitchell, T.J. Carrie and E.J. Gaines. Oh and Todd Haley takes over as offensive coordinator. That’s it, though.
Major losses: Um, running back Isaiah Crowell? They also traded away Corey Coleman, Jason McCourty, Danny Shelton, Jamar Taylor, and all three of their quarterbacks from last season (DeShone Kizer, Kevin Hogan, Cody Kessler).
Breakout watch: All eyes are on Garrett, who managed seven sacks despite starting just nine games and taking part in less than half of the team’s defensive snaps as a rookie in 2017. The guy is just primed to explode with more support and better health in 2018.
Position to watch: With Coleman gone and questions surrounding the still-absent Josh Gordon at wide receiver, Callaway might have to play a huge role behind top receiver Jarvis Landry. But like Gordon, Callaway has a checkered past. The lack of depth at receiver could cause them to bring in veteran free agent Dez Bryant.
Prediction: They’re going to win some games this year. They were better than their 0-16 record last season, and now they’re stronger on both sides of the ball and in way better shape under center. They’re at least a year away from being consistently competitive, but watch for a less embarrassing showing in 2018.
6-10, 3rd place in the AFC North