NFL PREVIEW: 2020 CLEVELAND BROWNS

BY ADAM GREENE

Key Additions: TE Austin Hooper (free agent), OT Jack Conklin (free agent), QB Case Keenum (free agent), LB B.J. Goodson (free agent), S Karl Joseph (free agent), DT Andrew Billings (free agent), CB Kevin Johnson (free agent), S Andrew Sendejo (free agent), DE Adrian Clayborn (free agent), WR JoJo Natson (free agent), C Evan Brown (free agent), Donovan Olumba (free agent)

2020 NFL Draft: OT Jedrick Wills Jr., Alabama (round 1), S Grant Delpit, LSU (round 2), DT Jordan Elliott, Missouri (round 3), LB Jacob Phillips, LSU (round 3), TE Harrison Bryant, Florida Atlantic (round 4), C Nick Harris, Washington (round 5), WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan (round 6)

Projected Offensive Starters: QB Baker Mayfield, RB Nick Chubb, WR Odell Beckham Jr., WR Jarvis Landry, WR Rashard Higgins, TE Austin Hooper, LT Jedrick Willis Jr., LG Joel Bitonio, C J.C. Tretter, RG Wyatt Teller, RT Jack Conklin

Projected Defensive Starters: LDE: Myles Garrett, LDT Larry Ogunjobi, RDT Sheldon Richardson, RDE Olivia Vernon, WLB B.J. Goodson, MLB Mack Wilson, SLB Sione Takitaki, LCB Dencel Ward, RCB Greedy Williams, SS Karl Joseph, FS Grant Delpit

K: Austin Seibert

P: Jamie Gillan

Head Coach: Kevin Stefanski

Last Season: 6-10, 3rd place AFC North

A Look Back: A season that started with so much promise ended as it often does in Cleveland, with a dumpster fire and head coaching change. Of all the Cleveland Browns in the world, this team is the Cleveland Brown-iest and they proved it once again, losing in spectacular ways in spite of the best roster the team has put together since the late 1980s.

It certainly didn’t portend well with the Browns, favored in Week 1, didn’t even show up in front of their own home fans in a 43-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans. That loss looked better at the end of the year than to open it, but the team never really got going. Truthfully, looking at the 2019 schedule, this was a 9-7 team that underperformed, especially in the final month of the season where they lost three consecutive games and two of them were to the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals. Freddie Kitchens was deservedly fired.

2020 Projection: This will be a significantly better coached team than last year’s squad, seemingly by default and there’s a real chance the Browns could make a jump. The only problem is they’d have to do it in spite of playing in the same division as the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers (with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger). Their schedule outside the division is no help, with match ups against the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans in the AFC and the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC. Are they better than the Las Vegas Raiders? If they don’t want to finish under .500 for the 1,000th consecutive season, they better hope so.

Projected 2020 Final Record: 8-8. Once again the oddsmakers and I are simpatico on a team’s final record. Currently -8.5 wins pays at -135 and 5-9 victories pays at -150. Every other Cleveland outcome plays at plus money.

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