Pete Prisco from CBS Sports posted an article on Friday detailing the "four-pronged approach" when evaluating a team's chances at success in the NFL. What does the four-pronged approach consist of? From Prisco:
I've been a big believer in that way of thinking for a long time, which is why my four-pronged approach to building a team is even more important now than it has ever been. To refresh, the four-pronged approach is this:
1. Get a franchise passing quarterback.
2. If you have that guy, get the player who can knock down the other guy's franchise passer.
3. If you have those two, get the corner who can knock down the quarterback's passes.
4. If you have those three, make sure to get a premium tackle to keep the other teams' pass rushers off your quarterback.
Four key positions. Four key players. If you have all of those, you should have success.
In other words, you need to have a good quarterback, pass rusher, left tackle, and cover corner. Prisco took the top player at each position for each team in the league, and then ranked those players from 1-32. After that, he combined the rankings to form a team's overall ranking. It is worth noting that he values the quarterback category much higher than the other three, so he doubled the points for that category. That killed any chance the Browns had at being ranked high.
Cleveland was ranked 26th overall with 60 points. Those points came from the following players:
QB: Brandon Weeden (or Colt McCoy): Ranked 31st, which is 2 points (x2) = 4 points
LT: Joe Thomas: Ranked 2nd, which is 31 points
DE: Jabaal Sheard: Ranked 27th, which is 6 points
CB: Joe Haden: Ranked 4th, which is 29 points
...but wait. I did my math several times, and I swear that the cumulative total for Cleveland is actually 70 points, which would have them ranked 22nd overall, just one spot behind the Baltimore Ravens. I checked Baltimore's scores and they add up correctly, so I'll assume that Prisco made an error. If I'm just have a terrible day at math myself, please let me know.
How accurate is the four-pronged approach? For the most part, it looks like a power ranking, but it does give Cleveland its props for having two key positions filled. Weeden being ranked at No. 31 is basically the same as an "incomplete" grade. What if he ends up being a middle-of-the-road quarterback? Let's say he is No. 16, which is 17 points (x2) = 34 points. With that type of score (100), you're talking about the Browns jumping up to No. 7 on the list.