The Cleveland Browns continue to be applauded for the work they have done in the offseason, which is a nice change from recent years.
This is getting a bit embarrassing.
The Cleveland Browns have had the type of offseason that fans have been clamoring for since the team returned to the NFL in 1999.
First came free agency, where the Browns brought in center JC Tretter and right guard Kevin Zeitler to fix the offensive line.
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Then came the 2017 NFL Draft, where the Browns added playmakers to the defense – Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers and Larry Ogunjobi, among others – and the offense – DeShone Kizer and David Njoku.
Put it all together and the Browns are having, according to NFL.com, one of the five best offseasons of any team. (The second-best offseason, actually, if you are scoring at home.)
But executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and head coach Hue Jackson were not satisfied with just that work, oh no, they then went out and signed a group of undrafted free agents that earned an “A-” from Bleacher Report:
"Safety Kai Nacua of Brigham Young is a rangy and athletic ball hawk who measured third among all safeties in the this year’s draft in the SPARQ metric. It’s a guarantee that tidbit didn’t escape the attention of Cleveland’s analytically driven front office. Channing Stribling is a long cornerback at a position where the Browns need both quantity and quality. Stribling posted second-team all-conference honors as Peppers’ teammate at Michigan last year."
"Kenneth Olugbode is a hard-nosed young linebacker who improved his run defense grade from 33.8 in 2015 to 85.6 last season, per Pro Football Focus. Of course, there’s a reason these young men weren’t drafted. For Nacua, it was concerns about his tackling. Stribling’s long speed isn’t great. Olugbode is undersized and can be overwhelmed at the point of attack."
"But even the Browns’ UDFAs appear to have been signed with a particular plan in mind. A script the braintrust is sticking too."
This is all great, of course, and it certainly beats the alternative of Browns fans shaking their heads and wondering what fresh hell the team has cooked up for them next.
But none of it matters if everyone – from owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam down through the front office, coaching staff and the last man on the practice squad – doesn’t continue all working in the same direction to turn the franchise around.
There will be plenty of time to be upset and question just what the Browns are up to in the coming months, but for now it feels good for fans to be able to sit back and realize that for the first time in far too long the team appears to be in good hands.