Due to my boredom of the off season and nervous itch to talk about football you will all get my opinions on how each team fairs this season. I will start with just an overall summary, expected record, and such. As well as, delving into possible rookie development and even what they can look to improve on next off season. You can either help out with the discussion by commenting on my ramblings or ignore it completely. I would much rather not get hate mail or people calling me dumb. Obviously, I am not a professional NFL columnist or insider, but I like to think I have concise thoughts and reasonable ideas. So, without further adieu here we go!
I can see the Browns having one of those seasons where you see development from a young team and one with a lot of promise. However, I can see them falling short in a lot of games or just generally get blown out by the good teams. Both scenarios are not bad as long as your young players look good. I do not think it's out of the realm for the Browns to end up with a 4-12 or maybe even better record if they steal some games. People like to bury Hue Jackson, but he finally has a quarterback in DeShone Kizer or even Brock Osweiler who can win games instead of Cody Kessler who is just a back up or RG3 who has not shown an ability to stay healthy. So far, it seems like Kizer has shown some promise to be a starting caliber quarterback and I think falling until late in the 2nd round gave him a spark to work harder than he has at Notre Dame. Of course his football IQ and accuracy may get exposed his rookie year, but Jackson is a great quarterback coach who can elevate him. Plus, they improved the interior of their line with the additions of J.C. Tretter, and Kevin Zeitler to go along with All-Pro Joe Thomas at left tackle and the solid Joel Bitonio next to him. The only weakness may be on the right side of the line to protect him.
Their defense will obviously jump up in production with Myles Garrett, but do not expect instant success. Remember pass rusher is one of the toughest positions to transition from college to the pros due to the better blocking and quarterbacks' faster clock to get rid of the ball. Plus, the Browns secondary will not do him any favors. Having last year's standout Emmanuel Ogbah across from Garrett can create a nice young duo however, to strike some fear in opposing quarterbacks. They may also have one of the best linebacking corps with Jamie Collins and Christian Kirksey being a great tandem up the middle.
In the end, the Browns need to stick to the plan and not rush things like they normally do. If the year is shaky again I would not fire Hue Jackson who provides the team with continuity and stability at the top. Which, is one of the most underrated things to have in the NFL and it's not like Jackson has done a terrible job with the talent he has had around him. If Kizer shows promise I would stick with him if I was the Browns and may end up with a great draft class if the rest perform well.
1 (1) - Myles Garrett OLB - I hope he pans out for the Browns sake, but if they did not pick him and he plays great people would have buried them. So in the end they had to take him. I do expect him to have an up and down season like most rookie pass rushers, but if Leonard Floyd for the Bears had 7 sacks in an abbreviated season, Garrett should do better in a whole season. In the end, he has the talent of being a building block on their defense.
1 (25) - Jabrill Peppers S/LB - I was not a huge fan of this selection since I see Peppers being a bust or at best a solid player. However, with the fanfare that has followed Peppers being just a solid player is not good enough in most fans eyes. If he landed with say a good defense he would be like the icing on the top, but with a developing defense like the Browns he may be exposed. As mentioned the Browns linebacking corp is already very solid so Peppers may have to float near the line at strong safety to see snaps, but his pass coverage may be exposed. In the end I think he can get overwhelmed his first year as he figures out his position.
1 (29) - David Njoku TE - With the Browns plethora of picks I do not blame them trading up to take the players they love, which is what they did this past draft. Njoku has the ability to be a great weapon for whoever the quarterback is for the Browns and I can see him developing into a better Greg Olsen. His size and athleticism is hard to find at the position to go along with his youth there is a high amount of upside for the former Hurricane. With the rest of the Browns receiving unit being a bunch of question marks I can see Njoku being an immediate impact player for them.
2 (20) - DeShone Kizer QB - In the end, this is where I thought Kizer deserved to go with how poorly he played with decent talent up at Notre Dame and to me to be a top quarterback in the draft you need to win games. However, I also predicted that if he does slide maybe that would turn on his competitive switch and so far it seems that is the case for the young man. He needs to work on his football IQ and accuracy to be a solid starter. If he starts the year on the bench that's no big deal since Osweiler will not be able to hold the job for long with Kizer's upside right behind him. If he shows promise I can see the Browns being a real contender with him in a year or two.
3 (1) - Larry Ogunjobi DT - This is another solid upside pick by the Browns who can use some more pass rushing ability up the middle. So far former first rounder Danny Shelton has not shown that ability. With this defense being a hybrid front I can see Ogunjobi having plenty of opportunities as he develops. This was a solid pick that could be a real gem in a year or two.
4 (20) - Howard Wilson CB - The Browns needed to find at least one starting caliber corner in this draft and I thought Wilson here was a little too late to find a real good talent. Wilson does have the size and athleticism, but I worry if he wants to put in the work with his lazy attitude during Pro Days. Maybe, he will show up during game day, but in the end this is more likely going to be a bust pick and a disappointing one since Wilson has a lot of talent.
5 (16) - Roderick Johnson OL - To begin the college season Johnson was a favorite to be a high draft pick, but ended up looking terrible all year long. There is talent here though if he was regarded so highly so maybe with better coaching at the pro level he can develop his skills better. He is a bit too finesse to move inside at guard so he may just be a swing tackle or emergency starter to start his career. Sitting behind Joe Thomas is not a bad guy to learn the game from either.
6 (1) - Caleb Brantley DT - I will never condone drafting a player with domestic violence or actually any legal issues outside of maybe marijuana. It just shows me immaturity and too much risk to devote time to a player with those issues. Also, it just perpetuates to other young players that you can get away with a lot of things and still end up being drafted. If you want to get rid of these issues you should say to these kids you cannot get in the NFL with any legal issues since it's a privilege not a right to play in the league. Rant over. In the end this is a high upside pick if he can stay clean off the field and put in effort on the field since his talents are first round worthy. I doubt he pans out to be anything in the end.
7 (6) - Zane Gonzalez K - Not much to see here. Though I will say he was a proflific kicker in college even better than former 2nd rounder Roberto Aguayo and still got picked this year behind a few other kickers. So, to me I guess this is a steal from a kicker perspective and in today's NFL with how bad kicking has been finding a reliable kicker is not a bad thing to have.
7 (34) - Matt Dayes RB - This is a solid late round grab in my opinion. I have never been a huge fan of Isaiah Crowell or Duke Johnson so finding a runner to push them is a good plan. He is a bit undersized, but the few games I have seen from Dayes I notice he displayed good vision and ability to slip away from defenders. He can be a nice rotational back.
2018 Off Season:
If I were the Browns and DeShone Kizer shows promise I would be doing back flips of joy. They will most likely end up with a top 5 pick and could maybe move that pick for more picks with teams trading up for one of the top qbs. In my opinion, the draft is a lottery so more picks gives you more opportunities to hit on a player. Other than that they can maybe upgrade the right tackle spot through the draft or free agency if Shon Coleman and others fail. Also, the secondary is going to be an area of focus for them throughout the off season next year.
My 2018 Mock Predictions:
1 (3) - Saquon Barkley RB Penn St
2 (2) - Jordan Thomas CB Oklahoma
2 (15) - Geron Christian OT Louisville
2 (21) - Ronnie Harrison S Alabama