This past May, ESPN assembled a panel to grade each team’s offseason. At the time, the Cleveland Browns received a D grade, which was the lowest in the NFL. Now that the season is over, Mike Sando of ESPN went through and re-graded each team’s offseason. Were there any moves that shocked the world enough to improve Cleveland’s grade?
To get an idea of what type of improvements can be made, consider this: the Dallas Cowboys’ original grade was a C, but the re-grade bumped it up to an A because of how essential the selection of Dak Prescott turned out to be. Instant results = higher grade.
Although the Browns gave a ton of playing time to youngsters, the class did not shine enough to warrant an improved grade, and Robert Griffin III missed too many games to say he had a positive impact on the club:
The low offseason grade reflected the prevailing thought that the Browns subtracted more veterans from their roster than they could reasonably replace. Isn't the goal to win as many games as possible while rebuilding? Cleveland's leadership proceeded as though it didn't care whether the team finished 1-15 or 5-11 in this first rebuilding season.
Fourteen rookie draft choices combined to play a league-high 4,154 offensive or defensive snaps, nearly 25 percent more than the runner-up Colts. Second-rounder Emmanuel Ogbah was among those who showed promise. Cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun surprised as an undrafted free agent, and the Browns also did well in acquiring cornerback Jamar Taylor from the Dolphins. But it still looks like Cleveland took as many, if not more, steps backward as forward last offseason.
Fortunately for the Browns, by staying put, they ended up not having the worst offseason after all! The Houston Texans joined them with a D grade (down from a B+ grade), while the San Francisco 49ers received the worst overall grade (an F, down from a C).