Earlier this week, Pro Football Focus went through and looked at every team’s projected starting roster in the NFL, and then ranked them 1-32. Fans abuzz over the offseason acquisition of talent may be a little surprised to hear where the Cleveland Browns ranked on that list: 18th.
Below are the grades that PFF assigned to each player on the team. Note: the grades are from their performance last year, except for Greedy Williams and Genard Avery, where their college grades were used. You can see the strengths include the offensive skill players and the team’s front four, while the weaknesses include the offensive line and linebacker positions.
For each team, PFF also wrote about the team’s biggest strength, biggest weakness, and their X-factor. The Browns’ biggest strength was QB Baker Mayfield, who had their second-highest grade for a rookie quarterback ever. WR Odell Beckham is the team’s X-factor, with PFF pondering whether Cleveland could have “the best QB-WR tandem in the league.”
The team’s biggest weakness falls on the defensive side of the ball, where PFF notes how tackling was a big concern in 2018:
The Browns’ glaring weakness was their inability to tackle last season. The team ended the 2018 campaign ranked dead last with a team tackling grade at 34.7, and they collectively missed a whopping 194 tackles over the course of the regular season -- 23 more than the next-closest team. Now that they have all the pieces in place on defense, improving on this fundamental aspect is a must.
Comparing AFC North teams, the Steelers had the 8th-ranked roster, the Ravens were 17th, and the Bengals were 25th. This is far from a wins-loss projection, though, as we all know how valuable the quarterback ends up being to the success of a team.