The Cleveland Browns posted their best season in more than 30 years in 2020.
The season saw Cleveland post:
- Its first 11-win season since 1994
- Its first playoff appearance since the 2002 season
- Its first playoff win since the 1994 season
- Its first road playoff win since 1969
The Browns did that on the backs of an offensive attack that became one of the league’s best by the end of the season, and a defense that did its best with what it had.
Sunday’s Super Bowl brought the season to its official end, but before everyone’s thoughts turn to the Scouting Combine, free agency and the draft, there is still time to reflect on the 2020 season.
Pro Football Focus did just that on Monday by releasing its Top 101 players list, which the sites says “represents the top 101 individual performances this season, regardless of position, and credits the best players of the season that was.”
The PFF 101— PFF (@PFF) February 8, 2021
1. Aaron Donald
4. Tom Brady
7. Patrick Mahomes
PFF's full list of the top 101 players from the 2020 NFL season ⬇️ https://t.co/3XrhjCznmI
Befitting their on-field success, the Browns are well represented on the list with seven players - including four offensive linemen.
Let’s take a run through the Browns players on the list, starting with the most unexpected name on the list.
No. 18: Wyatt Teller, guard
One of the most unlikely elite seasons of the 2020 campaign came from Browns guard Wyatt Teller, whose unexpected leap in play helped give the Browns the game’s best offensive line. Teller earned a PFF run-blocking grade of 93.6, the highest of any offensive lineman at any position, despite having never posted a grade higher than 55.0 in his career. Teller was a true road grader at guard and teamed with Jack Conklin at right tackle to form the most potent double team in the game.
No. 43: Myles Garrett, defensive end
An injury robbed us of Myles Garrett truly dominating all season and pushing himself into the top 10 of this list, but he still proved just how good he is. Garrett finished the year with a 90.1 PFF pass-rushing grade, notching 63 total pressures including the playoffs. For a period earlier in the season, he was the highest-graded edge rusher in the league. And he showed for the second consecutive year he is capable of running at that level for a period of time. The next stop is doing it for a full 16-game season.
No. 45: Baker Mayfield, quarterback
It’s hard to imagine Baker Mayfield landing on this list if you watched him play in Week 1, when the Baltimore Ravens took Cleveland’s offense to pieces as it tried to put all of the pieces together with little offseason and no preseason games to work through the issues. Mayfield and the rest of the offense just continued to get better and better throughout the campaign, and he finished with 31 big-time throws — just two behind Josh Allen on the season. Mayfield rebuilt his game on the fly and kept coming up with answers to every new challenge he faced.
No. 46: Joel Bitonio, guard
The Cleveland Browns’ offensive line underwent a massive overhaul in the offseason and the upgrades, along with the new offensive scheme, benefited the players who had already been playing well for some time — such as Joel Bitonio at guard. He had a career of good PFF grades already heading into this season, but he pushed it to another level with an 85.5 overall mark in 2020. He allowed just 18 total pressures across his 17 games and pieced together good run blocking grades, too.
No. 58: Jarvis Landry, wide receiver
With no Odell Beckham Jr. for the Browns after Week 7, it was Jarvis Landry who had to step up and be the primary receiver in the offense. And he did just that. Landry gets criticized in many places by people who won’t look beyond his box score numbers, but he routinely makes more out of plays than other receivers would. He generated a 105.6 passer rating for Baker Mayfield when targeted this season, a number that jumped up without Beckham in the lineup.
No. 62: Jack Conklin, right tackle
Jack Conklin was Cleveland’s big splash in free agency on the offensive line, and he responded with a season that was back to his best. Conklin’s overall and pass-blocking PFF grades both set new career-highs, and his run-blocking mark was the second-best of his career. Conklin allowed just 15 total pressures, less than half of what he surrendered a season ago, and was flagged only two times all year. He was a big part of Cleveland’s improvement on offense in 2020.
No. 80: JC Tretter, center
The fourth member of the Cleveland Browns offensive line to make the list, J.C. Tretter had a career year at center for the team. He allowed a total of just seven pressures, only one of which resulted in his quarterback hitting the dirt. His run blocking was also pretty good, giving him an overall PFF grade of 81.0, the first time he has topped 80 overall for a season.
The one notable omission from the list is running back Nick Chubb, who was not among the chosen 101 despite becoming the first Browns running back to make consecutive Pro Bowls since Mike Pruitt in 1980 and 1981.
Despite missing four games due to a knee injury, Chubb finished seventh in the league in rushing yards, was tied for third in rushing touchdowns, and averaged 5.6 yards per carry.