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2015 NFL Power Rankings #28: Cleveland Browns

Back where they belong

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Disclaimer: I am not a professional or a psychic. Your guess is as good as mine, unless it's something crazy.

2014 Record: 7-9

Cuts: Paul McQuistan, Spencer Lanning

Losses: Jordan Cameron, Brian Hoyer, Miles Austin, Ahtyba Rubin, Jabaal Sheard, Buster Skrine,

Suspended: Josh Gordon

Signings: Josh McCown, Brian Hartline, Tramon Williams, Thad Lewis, Rob Housler, Randy Starks, Dwayne Bowe

Trade: Seventh round pick for Andy Lee

Draft Class: Danny Shelton, Cameron Erving, Nate Orchard, Duke Johnson, Xavier Cooper, Ibraheim Campbell, Vince Mayle, Charles Gaines, Malcolm Johnson, Randall Telfer, Hayes Pullard, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu


Who takes the starting runningback job?

Why shouldn't opposing teams put eight in the box against the Browns?

Can Johnny Manziel, Justin Gilbert, and Barkevious Mingo live up to their draft status?


The Browns made it a point to get more beef on the defensive line, as they signed Randy Starks and drafted Danny Shelton, Xavier Cooper, and Nate Orchard to add depth to a defensive front that also has Phil Taylor and Paul Kruger. The Browns have a great secondary even without Justin Gilbert living up to his potential. They have a top cornerback in Joe Haden, a solid number two in Tramon Williams, and solid reserve corners in Pierre Desir and K'Waun Williams. They also have a pair of Pro Bowl safeties in Donte Whitner and Tashaun Gipson.


This is where it falls apart. The Browns have an elite offensive line with Joe Thomas, Joel Bitonio, Alex Mack, and they added Cameron Erving in the offseason, but that's where it stops. The Browns have promising young talent at runningback, but none of them have made a significant claim for the starting role. Things look worse when you look at the passing attack.

At quarterback, the Browns have Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel, one passer who struggled significantly in 2014 and one passer who struggled in every year outside of a brief stretch in 2013. At wide receiver, they have a collection of misfits and outcasts in Andrew Hawkins, Dwayne Bowe, Brian Hartline, and Taylor Gabriel and the Browns don't have any right ends that look like a threat in the passing game.

The Browns have solid players on the offensive line and defense. It's everything else that's the issue, as usual.


Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel continue to struggle in 2015, leading the league in turnovers. McCown retires after being cut.

Barkevious Mingo and Justin Gilbert don't turn their careers around.

Alex Mack takes his talents somewhere else.

The Browns hit the reset button again and clear house after the season.

Wins: New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, St. Louis Rams

Losses: Pittsburgh Steelers (Twice), Baltimore Ravens (Twice), San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans