NFL 2018 power rankings countdown No. 27: Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Myles Garrett #95 of the Cleveland Browns during warmups before the gam against the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 08: Myles Garrett #95 of the Cleveland Browns during warmups before the gam against the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

A preview of the Cleveland Browns ahead of the 2018 season.

Check back every day for a new 2018 team preview in this year’s NFL power rankings countdown.

Today’s team is the Cleveland Browns.

27. Cleveland Browns

Keegan’s highest rated player: Carlos Hyde, Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, Joel Bitonio, Jamie Collins, and Myles Garrett were all honorable mentions

Biggest strength: Receiving corps

Biggest weakness: Offensive tackle

Best offseason move: Hiring John Dorsey

Worst offseason move: Not finding a better replacement for Joe Thomas

Game to circle on calendar: Week 12, at Cincinnati

Breakout candidate: Damarious Randall, safety

Key players in contract years: Tyrod Taylor, Danny Vitale, Josh Gordon, Greg Robinson, Mychal Kendricks, and E.J. Gaines

Offensive preview

Cleveland fans have a lot of reasons to feel excited about the Browns’ offense this season. The Browns have a positive-looking quarterback situation, depth in the backfield, a good receiving corps, and potential in the offensive line. This offense won’t dominate in 2018, but it certainly will show a lot of potential.

A big reason for this will be Tyrod Taylor, who helped end the Bills’ longtime playoff drought last season. Don’t expect him to break the Browns’ own playoff drought just yet, but he will get them a lot closer to the postseason than most Browns quarterbacks have been able to in the past decade.

Baker Mayfield will see game action at some point this season, but Taylor will be the Browns’ quarterback for most of the year. John Dorsey drafted Patrick Mahomes last year and the Chiefs ended up sitting him for most of the season. A similar scenario will play out for Mayfield this year.

The Browns were smart to improve their backfield this offseason. Carlos Hyde is a great running back and Nick Chubb was one of the top backs in the 2018 NFL Draft. Don’t forget about Duke Johnson either. If Hyde is used as a workhorse, he has a chance at 1,000 yards.

The best part of this Browns roster is their receiving corps. Jarvis Landry is one of the best slot receivers in football, Josh Gordon is a dynamic outside threat, Corey Coleman has great deep threat potential with his blazing speed, and David Njoku is a real starting tight end with great athleticism. One guy to remember is Antonio Callaway. He slipped in the draft due to character concerns, but he has starting receiver potential.

If Joe Thomas were playing this year, there would be a lot more confidence in this offensive line. The Browns have a great interior line, but the offensive line will have a real problem if Austin Corbett or Shon Coleman don’t work out at left tackle.

This offense has a lot of potential this season, mainly because the Browns have the best quarterback not named Ben Roethlisberger in the AFC North this season. The Browns upgraded at every skill position this offseason.

Defensive preview

The Browns have a young defense in terms of age, but a defense with a lot of athleticism and upside at the same time. This could be one of the most exciting defenses in football a few years from now.

The best player will be Myles Garrett, who has double-digit sack potential in 2018. His pass rushing counterpart Emmanuel Ogbah is another player to watch. He could take a huge third-year leap.

The Browns have a well-rounded linebacking corps to complete this front seven, I see talent in all three of their starting linebackers. Jamie Collins is a former Pro Bowler, Joe Schobert was tied for most tackles in football last season, and Christian Kirksey is a well-rounded linebacker who still has room to grow. This linebacking corps will be able to contain the run in a division with a ton of running back talent.

The Browns will have one of the most improved secondaries in 2018. I would have taken Bradley Chubb over Denzel Ward, but Ward could still be a Pro Bowl caliber player. EJ Gaines will be a great addition too.

The Browns could have one of the most exciting young safety tandems in the NFL this season. There is still reason to believe in Jabrill Peppers, and Damarious Randall could be a breakout player.

Randall was playing out of position in Green Bay and still showed a lot of potential as a defensive back, he could be a good safety in this league if he used in the right fashion.

This defense won’t be dominant in 2018 as it is still young, but it could be a few years from now if their early draft picks pan out.

Coaching staff/front office preview

A team has a valid reason to fire a coach if he wins only one game in a season, but Hue Jackson still has a job after “achieving” only one win in two seasons. Hue Jackson has averaged literally 0.5 wins per year, yet he is still employed as a head coach in the NFL. If you ask me, that’s absurd.

Luckily for the Browns, they have two good coordinators. Todd Haley is one of the best offensive coordinators in the NFL, and Gregg Williams has a ton of experience as a defensive coordinator. This is one of the best combinations of offensive and defensive coordinators in football.

One of the points of strength for this Browns team will (finally) be the front office. John Dorsey is one of the best general managers in football and he has a great staff working alongside him. This may be the front office that finally turns this franchise around.

Overall outlook for 2018

There are many reasons to be optimistic about the Browns headed into 2018. They have multiple people on their roster that have Pro Bowl potential, and their best quarterback situation in years. This could be a playoff team a few years from now.

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Previous teams:

28. Buffalo Bills
29. New York Jets
30. Cincinnati Bengals
31. Miami Dolphins
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers