The Cleveland Browns do not open the 2019 regular season for almost three more months, but that hasn’t stopped the hype surrounding the team from building on a daily basis.
The latest media member to book a seat on the hype train is Gil Brandt, a senior analyst at NFL.com. Brandt ranked the 10 most talented teams in the NFL heading into 2019 and the Browns checked in at No. 9:
The Browns are receiving a lot of offseason hype -- but there is a legitimate reason for it. On paper, this is the most talented team Cleveland has fielded since returning to the NFL in 1999. The trade that netted star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and pass rusher Olivier Vernon was just one headline-grabbing highlight of a broader team-building project that included drafting youngsters like Baker Mayfield, Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward and Nick Chubb, and acquiring veterans like Jarvis Landry, Damarious Randall, Kareem Hunt and Sheldon Richardson. The question, talent-wise, is along the offensive line. Can left tackle Greg Robinson continue to build off a surprisingly strong 2018 season? Will 2018 second-round pick Austin Corbett be able to fill the shoes of Kevin Zeitler, traded to the Giants as part of the OBJ deal? The defensive tackle rotation is shaky beyond Richardson and rising talent Larry Ogunjobi. Is the hype coming one year too soon? It’s hard to say, but the roster is strong.
Brandt checks all the boxes - both pro and con - about why fans should be excited about the Browns.
The offense has the potential to be among the league’s best, with quarterback Baker Mayfield working with one of the best wide receiver tandems and best running back tandems in the league. The defense should be improved over last season as well, as general manager John Dorsey has continued to rework the secondary and build up the starters along the defensive line.
But Brandt also points out some key issues facing the team, most notably the questions along the offensive line and the major lack of depth along the defensive line - most notably at defensive tackle.
Those issues will sort themselves out, one way or another, during training camp and the preseason. And if the situation works out in the Browns favor, the hype will turn into actual success come the regular season.
Until then, the Browns hype train will continue to book as many passengers as want to get on board.