PFT preseason power rankings No. 31: Cleveland Browns

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The Browns have taken the bottom rung in plenty of preseason, in-season and postseason power rankings in recent years, but that’s not where they find themselves in PFT’s rankings this summer.

They are No. 31, which isn’t where you’d want to be but it’s still a nice change for the Browns to have someone to look down on. Their chances of shooting higher up in the rankings will hinge on finally answering their eternal quarterback question.

Cody Kessler, Brock Osweiler and second-round pick DeShone Kizer are this year’s options under center, which offers some intriguing possibilities but little certainty that the search is ending this year. The good news for the Browns is that their stockpiling of draft picks, including three first-round selections this year, has led to more talent around the quarterbacks.

Biggest positive change: That increase in talent should be noticeable on both the offensive and defensive lines this year. First overall pick Myles Garrett gives the Browns a major piece to build around at defensive end and the team drafted two other defensive linemen to go with four others drafted in 2015 and 2016. On the other side of the ball, adding right guard Kevin Zeitler and center JC Tretter in free agency and extending left guard Joel Bitonio gives the Browns a stronger group to go with left tackle Joe Thomas.

Biggest negative change: It’s fair to wonder how much negative change a 1-15 team can experience, but Cleveland spent a lot of time working with Terrelle Pryor as he transitioned to wide receiver over the last two years and his 77 catches for 1,007 yards were a bright spot last season. They won’t reap any other rewards, however, as Pryor jumped to Washington as a free agent and the Browns will lean on Corey Coleman and Kenny Britt at wideout instead.

Coaching thermometer: The Browns have not shown much patience with their coaches of late, but Hue Jackson starts his second year without much heat under his seat. That won’t remain the case if the team’s search for a long-term answer at quarterback continues to be a fruitless one, but the Browns have embraced a longer view than they have in some time and Jackson is central to it.

We’d like to crack a beer with … Joe Thomas. Thomas has been through 10 seasons of losing with the Browns while playing for six head coaches and blocking for myriad quarterbacks. That’s a lot of fodder for stories and Thomas has the kind of personality that suggests they’d be good ones.

How they can prove us wrong: If the offensive line gels as hoped, the Browns should be able to run the ball and take some pressure off that quarterback group. Put that with a defense that follows new coordinator Gregg Williams’ history by improving in his first season with a team and the Browns could be playing a lot of close games in 2017. Get a few to break their way and the Browns will be looking a lot better in the final set of power rankings.

45 responses to “PFT preseason power rankings No. 31: Cleveland Browns

  1. C’mon, just give them like a 26 or 27 for morale support. Nobody wants to read that you’re gonna suck before you even start the season. I don’t think they’re gonna be THAT bad, Prolly 4th or 5th worst in the league.

  2. Would have bet my paycheck you had Manziel/Gordon penciled in to crack a beer with.

  3. The Browns will be the most improved team in the entire league this year, bar none. From one win last year to eight or better this year. And all the haters out there, including the gasbags in the national media, will say nothing, instead of giving them their props….

  4. Letting pryor walk was a head scratcher. That aside I really think Cleveland could surprise people.

  5. I have a good feeling about them this year, I don’t think they will make the playoffs but I think they have finally turned the corner and building correctly

  6. This team’s biggest problem isn’t the person playing quarterback, it’s been the obsession over the person playing quarterback causing neglect of other areas. You can win in this league with a mediocre QB if the rest of your team is good. The rest of this team has not been good, making the relentless quarterback pursuit a pointless endeavor. They may have finally turned a corner now, though. I can see them winning four or five games this year.

  7. I think the Browns are going to be better than a lot of people think they are.

  8. drakost says:
    Jul 10, 2017 3:27 PM

    Letting pryor walk was a head scratcher. That aside I really think Cleveland could surprise people.


    They didn’t let Pryor walk, they offered him a bigger contract than he got in Washington, Pryor’s agent told him he would get top tier money and it turned out the market wasn’t there and the Browns had already moved on to Britt.

  9. One would have thought that the Browns front office would have placed significantly more emphasis on the QB position. In this league, you live and die with your quarterback -just ask the Texans.

  10. The DC Gregg Williams will not let this defense be a joke…..if you don’t do what he wants…you won’t be on the team!

  11. No way! Osweiler will be a massive upgrade over what the Browns have had. Protect him, give him some decent receivers and watch ’em improve dramatically.

  12. Game is and will always be about the QB. With the pure uncertainty, there’s no reason to suspect this team can win more then 4 or 5 games at best. Even if everything else gels, the best scenario will be the 1 or 2 upsets they get this year. I’m going with Week 1 against the Steelers as one of them.

  13. I feel that you have underestimated the Brown`s improvement by 5-7 slots at least. Time will tell.

  14. Kessler played really well last season with only 1 receiver to throw to. All the other receivers sucked, and Cory Coleman is always hurt. If the new additions to the offensive line can give him more than a second and a half, the kid will throw strikes all day long. It all comes down to the line, if they do their jobs well, and the Browns have the ability to run the ball to keep the defense honest, the Browns could be a team that surprises a bunch of people.

  15. I agree that the Browns will be much improved. They’re not going to the playoffs, but should be compwtitive in most gms. Cincy regressed badly and Balti just seems to be treading water

  16. spin the wheel. which Team has there starting QB go down ? Ben , Manning ,Rodgers ETC they all go from Penthouse to the basement in a blink of an eye. you never know how it plays out.

  17. I was thinking the Vikings were going to follow the Jets in this ranking so either the Browns are truly that bad or the poll is giving too much credit to the Vikings.

  18. Browns will be improved. I like what they’re doing in the draft. Should see what they have in Kizer this year if at all possible. Should stick with Hue at least till he has a legitimate starting QB of the future to work with.

  19. They could be better this year. Then again, we’re talking about the team that tanked so hard last year, they pulled Kessler out of games when he was starting to have some success.

  20. I figure a floor of 5-11 and that is just because of Gregg Williams. If they get anything at all out of Osweiler or perhaps even Kizer then that’s at least a couple of more wins tacked on to that.

  21. Where does ESPN Cleveland, aka, “Home of the Browns” “Really Big Show” rank in the power rankings now they decided to screw listeners and force fans to pay $$$ to hear Aaron Goldhammer while Tony Rizzo takes vacations and talks about retirement constantly?

  22. Browns improved in the draft but the AFC north is brutal, and they’ll need more than Gregg Williams yelling “Kill The Head” at Big Ben’s over sized cranium.

  23. Pryor is and always was a head case, left $20m guaranteed on the table from the Browns then took $6m, non-guaranteed, from the Skins when no takers were left. Nice job, Mr. Agent, and full-of-himself Pryor…

  24. I never thought I would ever type this but I do think for the first time in long long time there might be a glimmer of hope in Cleveland.

  25. Yes, they can build there whole defense around a guy who hasnt taken one snap in the nfl and who gets hurt easily and talks like a dope.

  26. Well, let’s remember that they were really 2-14 last year, if it weren’t for that official the Ravens paid off to call a 15-yard penalty on Pryor for dropping a ball somewhere near the area near the vicinity of an opposing player. So going to 6 wins isn’t a huge jump, but a realistic one.

  27. If the Bengals O-line cannot protect Dalton and he gets hurt early, the Browns can give the AFC North cellar-dweller crown to the Bengals.

  28. if Kizer or Kessler is “the guy,” the Browns can then use the 5 picks in the top 64 of next years draft to round each side of the ball. think about that; 5 in the top 64 of next years draft. if neither is “the guy” then they can parlay some of those picks into a franchise QB in next years draft. yea, Browns are in the catbird seat. Super Bowl 2020, book it.

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