Less than a month from now, the Cleveland Browns entire roster will gather in Berea before traveling to West Virginia to start training camp. Fans, ranked top tier in the league, will get a chance to watch eight practices in Ohio.
Today is all about Cleveland’s roster. NFL free agency and the NFL draft have reshaped the Browns roster to hopefully address issues. The additions of DC Jim Schwartz and special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone are also expected to pay big dividends.
Today’s ranking by ESPN takes coaching out of the equation to just look at rosters. In the Insider piece (subscriber, $), they have Cleveland ranked with the 9th-best roster in the NFL. As expected, the offensive line is still considered the team’s strength and, like last year, defensive tackle remains the weakest:
This roster is, at least, solid across the board, leaving me to choose a position at which Cleveland added a high-impact player (Dalvin Tomlinson). That addition is huge, but depth remains problematic, with Jordan Elliott, Perrion Winfrey, Maurice Hurst and rookie Siaki Ika among those battling for work. This is a concern for a defense that ranked 31st in rushing EPA allowed in 2022.
The unsurprising continues as QB Deshaun Watson was labeled the team’s X-factor. Watson’s performance decides the team’s floor and ceiling for the upcoming season.
Perhaps the most interesting, outside of the team having a top 10 roster, was Ika being labeled as the team’s “nonstarter to know.” This stat should add a little excitement for Browns fans:
... according to Sports Info Solutions tracking, and he generated 30 pressures from those spots over the past two seasons — second most among all FBS players in that span.
If Cleveland’s second selection in this year’s NFL draft can play a role against the run and pass, it would help the weakness described by ESPN.
Five AFC teams, including the Cincinnati Bengals from the AFC North, were ranked above the Browns.
What do you think of where ESPN has the Browns roster ranked?