next year four years from now for the Cleveland Browns, according to ESPN.com's John Clayton, Louis Riddick, and Mike Sando.
The trio placed the Browns 30th in a three-year prospective power ranking of all 32 NFL teams. The Browns dropped one spot from last year's rankings.
Clayton, Riddick, and Sando ranked each roster, from 0-100, on five categories: quarterback, roster (minus the quarterback), draft, front office, and coaching. The ESPN.com article explained the rankings in this way:
"After averaging the results from the panelists, each of the five categories was weighted to create the overall score -- roster (30 percent), quarterback (20 percent), draft (15 percent), front office (15 percent) and coaching (20 percent). The result is a comprehensive rankings based on how well each team is positioned for the future."
Problems at the quarterback position led to the panel's negativity towards the Browns. The three gave the Browns a quarterback score of 30, tied with the Bills for last in the league. Mike Sando said of the situation at signalcaller:
"Josh McCown is a bridge starter at best, and Johnny Manziel is coming out of rehab after hardly playing as a rookie. Cleveland ranks 28th or worse in every category except non-QB roster, where a No. 23 ranking reflects a two-spot drop from last year."
Speaking of the non-QB roster, the Browns dropped 10 points from 71 to 61.7. Personally, this makes no sense to me. The Browns upgraded at offensive line, defensive line, running back, wide receiver, and punter.
Clayton addressed this area, citing the Browns' lack of elite draft picks in recent years.
"Coaching and management changes have hindered the Browns' ability to build a solid young foundation. If Danny Shelton beats out Phil Taylor at nose tackle, Cleveland will have only three starters from its 2011-14 draft classes -- guard Joel Bitonio, tackle Mitchell Schwartz and linebacker Barkevious Mingo. The Browns would be in big trouble if wasn't for their ability to find decent players in the later rounds and off the street -- safety Tashaun Gipson (undrafted), linebacker Craig Robertson (undrafted), wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (undrafted), defensive end Billy Winn (sixth round) and running back Isaiah Crowell (undrafted)."
Clayton seems to sneer at the Browns' knack for finding solid undrafted free agents. Either way, it's strange how the panel dropped head coach Mike Pettine's score from a 64.8 to a 60. Pettine has grown as a coach in the past year and developed into a respected leader. Some of these scores seem arbitrary.
Is the future bright for the Browns? Only time will tell, though the panel's rankings might offer a small glimpse into what might be ahead.
Do you agree with the rankings? Let your opinion be heard in the comments section below.