Bold Prediction for 2017: Cleveland will go 7-9 and then compete for the AFC North title in 2018.
Looking at what the Browns did big picture is pretty impressive. Their draft trades have notched 2 first rounders and 2 second rounders in 2018. If the QB room is still not where they want it next year they have the ammo to EASILY move up to the No. 1 spot and take their pick of the best QB in next year's draft class.
The Browns also come out of this weekend with 10 new football players, all of whom will have an opportunity to compete sooner rather than later because of the Browns talent-deficient roster. I believe, barring injury, all 3 of their first round picks will be starters for their opening game against Cleveland. Garrett, Peppers, and Njoku all feel like hungry guys who want to really compete and play football in the rugged AFC North. I would also be surprised if the Browns don't utilize last year's 4th round pick, TE Seth DeValve along with Njoku. They actually have very similar measurables, and DeValve showed flashes last year. Keep your eye on that guy, because I think Jackson will have some fun with play-action out of 2 tight end sets. Their O-line should yield an improved running game, which will make the play-action game that much more effective.
As far as their day 2 picks go, I think the Kizer selection at 52 provided the right value, even though I'm very torn about him. The Browns are now going into a QB room with 2 2nd round QBs and a 3rd round QB who contributed significantly last season. My read on the QB situation for the Browns is that Kessler is a quality backup. He's safe but he's not special. And that's ok. Backup QBs in the league make a ton of money and I think Kessler is a very positive locker room presence and a hard worker. He may start the season but I would actually be surprised if Osweiler isn't the starter at the beginning of the year. Granted, there is the highly likely possibility that Osweiler will be traded or cut by the Browns BUT if they're going to do that, they need to do it soon. Kessler and Kizer both need reps to improve and taking away one of the guys in the QB room increases the amount of reps possible. My biggest knock on Kizer at this point is that he needs to commit to a legit hairdo because I've always felt the mini fro is just a tweener look. Kizer, as has been stated ad nauseum by draftniks, is a physical specimen and he's shown the ability to hit all the throws. In all honesty, the kid really reminds me of Brady Quinn and that's not just because of the Notre Dame-Browns connection. Kizer is very bright. He's a physical specimen at 6'4'' 233. Brady was 6'3" 230 and jacked. (Interestingly, that became a knock on him as he struggled being successful in the league.) Brady Quinn and DeShone Kizer even sound the same when they talk. My biggest concern with Kizer is how bad does he want it? Does he want to be it? Is he gonna play and practice and prepare like his baby fro is on fire? For the Browns sake, let's hope so.
Larry Ogunjobi. Didn't know anything about this guy pre-draft but I've loved him in interviews and I love the idea of putting him with Danny Shelton and Jamie Meder. If he plays up to competition like Mike Mayock claims, he'll be a steal.
I am somewhat disappointed the Browns didn't draft one of the premiere cornerbacks available, as I think that's a huge need, and I'm concerned they didn't get a linebacker. I was supremely unimpressed with Joe Schobert last year, but maybe he'll fit better in a 4-3. I was also sad that Connor Harris, LB from Lindenwood, wasn't drafted and then got picked up by the Jets in the UDFA scramble. I like Connor Harris a lot and think that his floor is as a special teams demon with his ceiling being a solid starting linebacker. He may not have the ideal size, but some guys can just play football and you've just got to turn them loose. Perhaps the Browns feel like they invested in Jamie Collins and therefore the LB position is less of a priority but...I disagree.
My big steal of the draft for the Browns is actually Zane Gonzalez. The Browns would've won the Miami game in week 3 had they made a few more kicks, and there was another game that I can't think of off the top of my head they had a chance to win had their kicker made it. Going 1-2 through three weeks of the NFL could've really changed the Browns fortunes last year. Not necessarily to a winning record but maybe to a 3-13 or 4-12 record. That may not sound like a lot, but 0-14 does something to your soul and your will to play that I think an early win could've mitigated.