As we turn the page toward the 2023 NFL season, fans of the Cleveland Browns are just hopeful that something better will be on the horizon. The drama of last offseason around the team, including obvious major decisions, started the year with a sour taste in many fans’ mouths which only got worse as the season ended with a dud of a record at 7-10.
The good news is that the Browns could have won two more games (New York Jets and Los Angeles Chargers) had they just recovered one onside kick and made one field goal. Two other games (Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints) were quite winnable as well.
Unfortunately, the excitement for the offseason is tamped down by the draft capital sent out in the Deshaun Watson trade and the limited, but not as much as folks believe, cap space the team has available.
Free agency will kick off the offseason first and, perhaps, provide some better direction for where the team goes with their eight draft picks.
Based on his three-year history as the team’s GM, Andrew Berry has one very clear bias, age:
Friendly reminder for #browns fans to always check the ages of players in mock drafts— Felix Zurek (@felixzurek) February 13, 2023
If they are older than 23 there's almost no chance Berry drafts them early pic.twitter.com/YRl2FtCHei
The above graph does a great job of showing just how much youth plays a role in early selections by Berry. While there is an outlier in Jordan Elliott, Berry has only once spent a top-100 pick on a player that was already 22 years old. That seems to loosen after that selection.
With many believing that Cleveland is in a “win-now” mode, it will be interesting if we see a change from Berry this year. The team currently has two selections in the top 100 where immediate production might be more important than long-term upside. Something to watch for as the draft process moves along.