Cleveland Browns: Overrated, Underrated

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May 21, 2014; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Ben Tate (44) during organized team activities at Cleveland Browns practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns are a team on the rise. The biggest thing lacking on their team has been stability. Here is to hoping that Ray Farmer and Mike Pettine can bring that stability back to the Browns organization. A lot of signs point to them being able to, but those signs were evident in past regimes as well. On the players side of things the Browns have a very talented roster. One so talented that it ranks high on Pat Kirwan’s list of number of Top 100 players on it:

An impressive group for the Browns to be lumped in with for sure. Quarterback play will be the key, can Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel put all that talent to use? The team also has players that are a little overrated and underrated. Pete Prisco of CBS Sports put out a list of players on each team, 1 over and 1 under, based on his thoughts. We will give you a few of our candidates then show you his winner. First starting with Overrated:

Overrated

Candidates

Ben Tate - Tate came over from the Houston Texans on a moderate deal to be the starting running back for the Browns. Almost any RB would be an upgrade over last year’s group. Yet Tate is expected, and expects himself, to carry the workhorse load for the Browns without any long term proof he can handle the load. Tate’s injury history and lack of history of being able to be anything close to a 300 carry back could mean he is overrated.

Donte Whitner - Whitner was one of 2 star defenders the Browns brought in early in the free agent class, along with Karlos Dansby (could of been a candidate here). Whitner is expected to provide strong hitting and coverage skills in the back end of the defense. While he is an upgrade over T.J. Ward in coverage, his regular pursuit of the big hit has led to a number of big plays for the 49ers opponents the last few years. Whitner could be a solid starter, but he has been ballyhooed as a game changer which could mean he is overrated.

Ahtyba Rubin - Rubin is a fan favorite for his big motor and making an impact as a 6th round pick. We in Cleveland love the gritty hard nosed players as much as anyone. The problem for Rubin is that as he as aged his ability to make an impact has gone downhill. Browns fans believe they have a stellar front 3 with Rubin, while recently on Bleacher Report he was the reason they were ranked in the mid 20s. Fans will always overrate the hustle guy. Rubin is the ultimate hustle guy which could mean he is overrated.

Prisco’s “Winner”

Overrated: OLB Paul Kruger ­­ They paid him a lot of money to amp up their defense and he didn’t provide much in terms of pass rush. They essentially paid a lot of money for an edge setter. Oh, boy.

Not much of a surprise here as Kruger has been paid a ton of money and his numbers don’t back up that money. Many have noted that coach Mike Pettine may even look to move Kruger inside to take advantage of his strength and run stopping ability. Either way the Browns aren’t getting their money’s worth from Kruger and may have been better off giving that money to Cliff Avril instead at the time they signed Kruger.

On the next page we look at underrated candidates and Prisco’s winner. 

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  • Sam Gold

    I’m most interested to see how much coaching and scheme change these perceptions.

    • Jared Mueller

      Who do you have the most hope for? Who do you think will be most negatively impacted?

      • Sam Gold

        Of those you listed I have the most hope to see Kruger improve in a system that will put him more consistently in a position to succeed. I also agree with your view that Schwartz, Taylor and Gipson are set to break out and this coaching staff is better suited to make that happen.

        Among others not mentioned I think Cameron, Des Bryant, Chris Faulk, John Hughes, Billy Winn, Sheard and Skrine are all names that will be held in much higher regard when the 2014 season ends than here at the beginning.

        I realize Cameron is well thought of now but I think he will be in the elite discussion after this season. Bryant is a d-line wrecking ball, sack master waiting to happen. Faulk, Mack and Bitonio will be the take-no-prisoners, smash mouth interior o-line this town craves. Sheard is going to be top three this season in sacks, mark my words. Skrine, Haden and Gilbert are going to be the talk of the NFL and Cleveland will end the season as a power house D with a shutdown secondary that will propel this team into the playoffs in Pettine’s first season.

        All, or almost all, of the pieces are in place from the top down and it all comes together this year.

        • Sam Gold

          Oops…I meant Gilkey, not Faulk.