Cleveland Browns named No. 13 offensive arsenal by ESPN, was that fair?

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Bill Barnwell of ESPN ranked the Cleveland Browns as having the 13th best offensive arsenal in the NFL, but was this ranking accurate for their talent?

How good is the Cleveland Browns offense going to be in 2018? Well, the easy answer is they’ll be much better than they were in 2017.

According to most who follow the team and the league, they won’t just be a little better either as the Browns have added significant talent to their roster and the sky seems to be the limit. They even found themselves in the lower half of offenses in a recent ranking from ESPN.

Bill Barnwell looked primarily at the offenses for all 32 NFL teams and ranked them from worst to first. Cleveland found themselves a respectable No. 13 and Barnwell admitted that a lot of their success relies on Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman staying on the field at wide receiver.

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"“If those guys do stay on the field all season, the Browns are in business. They have a wildly underrated back in Duke Johnson, so much so that Cleveland appears set to take away his path to a bigger role by signing Carlos Hyde and drafting Nick Chubb. The signing of Hyde seems curious given Cleveland’s subsequent moves to draft Chubb and hand Johnson an extension, but the Browns have plenty of depth at halfback in the short term. Few teams have more upside than Cleveland’s set of weapons.” — Barnwell, ESPN"

That’s all fair to say, but is the ranking an adequate placement for the team? Maybe. Maybe not. While a lot of the teams ahead of Cleveland made sense — like the Atlanta Falcons at No. 3 and the Los Angeles Rams at No. 6, there were some questionable calls. One being the team right ahead of the Browns.

At No. 12, Barnwell listed the Houston Texans, who have just as many question marks as the Browns. Running back D’Onta Formeman is fresh off a torn Achilles and quarterback Deshauun Watson had a torn ACL that he’s hoping to be fully rehabbed from.

They weren’t as egregious as the Los Angeles Chargers at No. 10 who have no tight end, limited help at wide receiver — especially given Keenan Allen and Mike William’s injury history — and a shaky offensive line.

Arguments could also made against the Chicago Bears at No. 9 and the New York Giants at No, 2 ( who are questionable outside of Odell Beckham, Jr. and Saquon Barkley).

Cleveland looks much more dangerous than any of those teams mentioned above when you look at Gordon, Jarvis Landry, Corey Coleman, David Njoku as pass catchers and a running back trio that could all be legitimate starters in the NFL.

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So yes, No. 13 is an improvement. But it’s probably still too low.