The national NFL media has never much been optimistic about the Cleveland Browns’ short- or long-term prospects and it appears things have not changed. A trio of ESPN experts, tasked “[t]o project which NFL franchises are in the best shape for the next three seasons,” and thus to (power) rank them accordingly, have a bleak perspective of where the Browns are headed.
The numerical grades are compiled across five categories—Roster, Quarterback, Coaching, Draft and Front Office—and are on the following scale:
100: A+ (Elite)
90: A (Great)
80: B (Very good)
70: C (Average)
60: D (Very bad)
50: F (Disastrous)
40: F- (The worst thing imaginable
The good news is that the Browns came in with an overall score of 70.8; the bad news, though, is that it puts the team at 31 out of 32 (only the Miami Dolphins rank worse).
The roster was given a grade of 72.3 (rank: 27). The quarterback situation was graded a 77 (rank: 21). Coaching was the worst of the lot, with a 56.7 grade and a rank of 32. The Browns’ draft situation and prospects were the highest among the five categories, with a 76 score and a rank of 19. And finally, the front office came in with a ranking of 24th and a grade of 73.3.
Yates wrote of the decision that, “[T]here are still players among that group whom we need to ‘see it to believe it,’ such as quarterback Baker Mayfield and wide receiver Josh Gordon (again). Most pressingly, there’s a massive debate about whether the Browns have the right coach in place, with Hue Jackson guiding his team to just one win in two years.”
Riddick is also critical of the Browns’ coaching staff, wondering whether it “is good enough to take what is clearly an improved roster from a personnel standpoint and make it into a division contender, particularly as it pertains to the [quarterback] position.”
Sando was a bit more moderate, explaining there was no choice but to rank the Browns last in coaching given the 1-31 record over the last two years, but conceded the crew could be underrated particularly “with veteran assistants Todd Haley and Ken Zampese joining forces.”
Meanwhile, fellow ESPN NFL analyst Mike Clay pegged the Browns as a wild-card playoff sleeper for the 2018 season in May. Prognostication is a hallmark of the NFL offseason when all teams are 0-0 and anything remains possible. So, what say you? What are your three-year rankings and projections for the Browns based on ESPN’s five metrics?