Five Reasons the Browns Future is in Good Hands
Aging myself a bit, but after watching the Browns for 30+ years, I haven’t been so excited for a season to start since the 1980s. Bernie Kosar was the reason year in and year out for five years of playoffs, even with the heartbreak. Browns fans now have a legit hope at quarterback again in Baker Mayfield. We hope because nobody knows what the future brings, but the talent is evident. As we head into the 2019 season, we take a look at the five reasons the Browns future is in great hands.
Mayfield’s ability to lead is what set him apart from the 2018 quarterback draft class. He walked onto the field in week three against the Jets and won for the first time in 635 days. He “woke up feeling dangerous” and his teammates were feeling dangerous the rest of the season. The way veteran players rallied around the rookie quarterback was uncanny. While those actions may appear small, it’s how a leader impacts the team at quarterback that changes a culture of losing. Combine that with what we saw on the field, and clearly, you have an exceptional talent. We can talk about the rookie touchdown record or all the franchise records, but first and foremost it comes down to his ability to lead this team. Baker is the driver, and his continued development is the key to how far this team goes in 2019 and beyond.
Injuries slowed Garrett in college and during his rookie campaign leading to concerns about his long-term health and impact. He squashed those doubts last year by starting all 16 games. Additionally, Myles led all NFL defensive linemen with 1098 snaps, per footballoutsiders.com. A healthy Myles made his first Pro Bowl with a 13.5 sack season. The 13.5 sacks were made even more impressive despite the best efforts of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. How do you limit a talent like Myles to two pass-rush moves?
Myles is one of a few players in the NFL that can tilt the field. It requires precise schemes to slow him down. The lack of depth on the defensive line in 2018 did not take full advantage of this. So, John Dorsey traded for Olivier Vernon and signed Sheldon Richardson to increase that depth. That depth, combined with the freedom to reach into his arsenal of moves, should terrify offensive coordinators around the NFL. With a 20-sack season as the declared goal for 2019, opposing quarterbacks should struggle to get a good night’s sleep. Last but not least, Myles is a generational talent that every GM in the NFL wants leading their defense for the next ten years.
Denzel Ward was a pro bowl corner his rookie season, what more do you want? Well, clean up the tackling a bit to prevent the concussion issues that took place last year. Ward, when healthy, gave the Browns one of the highest-rated rookies in the NFL and a legit shutdown corner. If the concussions are behind him, this completes the trifecta that all GMs covet of a quarterback, edge rusher, and lockdown corner when building a football team. Add in Greedy Williams, and the Browns could have an excellent duo for years to come.
Odell Beckham Jr
OBJ might be the biggest reason for playoff hope in 2019. His addition to a young talented team has lit a fire under John Dorsey’s rebuild. I mean look at what he has done since entering the NFL, with a quarterback clearly on the back end of a great career. Beckham became the first rookie to record more than 75 receptions, 1,100 yards, and ten touchdowns to garner Ap offensive rookie of the year. Beckham named as been named to the Pro Bowl three times and has been named a second-team AP All-Pro twice. Per NFL.com no player has had more success vs. the AFC North than Beckham Jr. since 2014. He is averaging 128.8 rec YPG vs. AFC North opponents (most in NFL). Now drop him into an already talented offense with a quarterback on the rise and his best friend playing beside him, I can’t even imagine.
Odell, like Mayfield, brings a competitive drive that seems to be matched only by his ego. Contrary to what most of you are thinking, I am not bashing him with this statement. That ego is part of what has made Odell the great player he so above all the Browns need to let Odell be Odell. Furthermore, find me a great wideout that doesn’t have one. In should also be noted that not many of his former or current teammates seem to have an issue with him. The talent is unquestioned, and the hype is real when it comes to OBJ. So, Browns fans sit back and enjoy the show.
In his first offseason, Dorsey was able to take a tiered approach to this team. He needed depth and talent across the board after an 0-16 season. Free agency brought three starting-caliber corners, a running back, and a starting right tackle. Via trade, he added the most significant pieces of the offseason thus far. Tyrod Taylor was added to be the starting quarterback from Buffalo for a third-round pick. Damarious Randall was added in a trade with Green Bay to beef up the safety position. In a deal with the Miami Dolphins came Jarvis Landry, the biggest prize of Dorsey’s first offseason. The roster was already better, and Dorsey hadn’t even drafted a player.
How do you top that offseason? Trade for a top 20 rated pass rusher and throw-in named Odell Beckham Jr.? Check. How about getting a first-round ranked corner in the second round? Check. Or add a rushing champion to an already talented backfield? Check. Dorsey did all of those and more to transform a long-suffering franchise into a legit playoff contender. I challenge you to find a GM that has done more in five years to impact a roster than Dorsey has managed in two. Based on the first two ‘off-season’s, I can’t wait to see what he has in store for act three and beyond. Jimmy Haslam has finally found the right man to “wake the sleeping giant.”