After two decades of waiting, the Cleveland Browns have seemingly returned from the NFL’s basement. Young teams with recent success have set out a blueprint, and the Browns are following in their footsteps.
In recent years, the Cleveland Browns have tried multiple different models to try to find success. With nine general managers and eleven different coaches since the franchise’s rebirth in 1999, the Browns have struggled to find a consistent model of success.
But under current general manager John Dorsey, the Browns look to be following the most popular model for young NFL teams looking to break out.
Since the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016, the NFL has seen three teams use this model to find major success. The Eagles, along with the Los Angeles Rams and Chicago Bears, have found a young quarterback, coached him up, and made a run in year two after adding veteran pieces and tweaking the coaching staff. The Browns look to be following this model perfectly.
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Like the young, hungry teams that came before them, the Browns have finally acquired the most important piece of the plan: a young star quarterback. As the centerpiece of the plan, it was crucial that John Dorsey hit on the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2018. Fortunately, it looks like the Browns’ brain trust hit it out of the park with Baker Mayfield.
After seeing just how talented Mayfield could be, the Browns went to work acquiring other pieces for this model, either through the draft or free agency. Of course, the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. was a big help, along with defensive pieces in Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson. Now, the Browns have to cash in on the final phase of this plan: Baker Mayfield’s second year leap.
The Browns have added quite a few pieces to their roster this offseason, in hopes of finding success and launching themselves into contention in the AFC. However, the crux of their success lies on Mayfield. Mayfield’s second year leap can catapult the Browns into a deep playoff run, if he puts it all together in his sophomore campaign as a pro.
Cleveland is using a business model that has been tried many times by many teams who have reaped serious rewards. The Browns have pieces all over their roster, highlighted by a star quarterback and a bookend defensive end in Myles Garrett.
Although the roster looks great on paper, the Browns still have to prove that they have what it takes. But the Dawg Pound has Mayfield at the helm. And if his rookie season in 2018 was any indication, there is no telling how good the Browns can be.