Near the end of March, a team of ESPN analysts gave the Cleveland Browns the worst grade in free agency, as they were the only team to receive a "D." A little over a month later, ESPN's Mel Kiper gave the Browns the 10th best grade for the 2015 NFL Draft, as they received a "B."
This past week, ESPN posted cumulative offseason grades for all 32 teams in the NFL. The Browns were tied with four other teams for 24th in the NFL with a "C+" grade. The only teams voted to have had worse offseasons were the New Engand Patriots, Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, and San Francisco 49ers. Here is the full breakdown ESPN gave for the Browns' grade:
Analysis: The Browns would have graded higher if analysts felt better about the moves Cleveland made to rejuvenate its offense.
"When last season ended, I said the Browns had the worst passing game personnel in the league," Williamson said. "They still do, and I do not know who is second. You can only do so much with that in a passing league."
Polian put it this way: "The choices they made in the draft are pretty good. They obviously are not worried about the passing game. They will manufacture that somehow. They became meat-and-potatoes offensively. There is nothing wrong with that. Now, you will not win it all without a quarterback and big-play receiver. It is a fact of life. So, while I like how they went about things, it is just not complete yet."
No one expected the Browns to fix everything this offseason. Riddick was especially high on the moves Cleveland made to helps its defense in the draft.
"Danny Shelton was one of my favorite players in the draft, someone who will surprise with his pass-rush and will not be just a two-down plugger," Riddick said. "Nate Orchard was the best pass-rusher in the draft. He did not have the incredible combine numbers, but he will be a very good addition in that 3-4 defense. The quarterback will make or break this team and really I don't know if they have one who can make them into what Cleveland has wanted to be. Can they improve until they find one?"
The Browns didn't have a sexy offseason, but if either of their two first-round picks from a year ago can rebound in their sophomore season, it'll be a big boost for the club.