As Chris pointed out, Pro Football Focus had the Browns roster ranked as the 14th best in the league. PFF also recently produced evaluations of each team's offensive and defensive depth charts. The color-coded graphic below is from their evaluation of the Browns offense, in which they rated players from elite to poor, based primarily on their 2014 PFF grades.
- T Joe Thomas - The definition of elite.
- G Joel Bitonio - Could be even better in year two.
- C Alex Mack - Arguably the league's best center.
- WR Andrew Hawkins - PFF rated Hawk as the Browns' best skill position player and pointed out that he graded out as the 11th best receiver in 2014.
- G John Greco
- T Mitchell Schwartz - Greco and Schwartz round out one of the league's best offensive lines.
So, according to Pro Football Focus, the strength of the Browns offense is the line and Andrew Hawkins. The line -- at least with a healthy Mack -- is an obvious strength. Hawkins is a fine player but seeing him receive (sorry, had to) such a high grade is a bit unexpected. Let's see how the rest of the offensive players fared in their grades:
- WR Dwayne Bowe
- WR Brian Hartline - Hartline and Bowe may bring chain-moving possession receiver and contested catch elements not on the roster in 2014.
- WR Taylor Gabriel - Was a dangerous deep threat but let down by inaccurate passes. Struggled a bit over the middle. Untapped run after the catch ability if they can get him the ball in space.
- WR Travis Benjamin - Speed plus the ability to extend and snag balls outside his frame resulted in him leading the WR corps with 3 TDs last year.
- T Michael Bowie - Could compete for starting RT job. Tackle-only in this scheme.
- QB Josh McCown - 2014 or 2013 Josh McCown?
- QB Thad Lewis
- RB Terrance West
- RB Isaiah Crowell - Crow and West were victims of an Alex Mack-less line last year.
- TE Jim Dray
- TE Gary Barnidge
- TE Rob Housler - Jim, Gary, and Rob. Likely splitting "Y" tight end reps while Malcolm Johnson is the "F".
- WR Marlon Moore - Special as a special teamer but ordinary as a receiver.
- RB Shaun Draughn - Poor runner, average blocker, quite good receiver at the back end of a crowded RB group.
Okay, so an average grade across the rest of the WR corps. That's reasonable. QB, RB, and TE take a beating, though. Improved line play should help the backs considerably. QB and TE need somebody to outplay their expectations. Speaking of which, let's look at the wildcard players that didn't receive ratings:
Some of the above players may step up their game and turn a new page in their careers this season and give an unexpected boost to the offense. Other than that, PFF has several players that they didn't apply ratings to, since they haven't played enough (or at all) in the league yet for them to get a solid rating on. These youngsters are the team's biggest wildcards on offense: