Cleveland Browns absolutely crushing it in post-draft Power Rankings

Jan 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) and defensive end Myles Garrett (95) celebrate after the AFC Wild Card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 10, 2021; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) and defensive end Myles Garrett (95) celebrate after the AFC Wild Card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports /

The Cleveland Browns look to be Super Bowl contenders in 2021

The Cleveland Browns had a year to remember, as far as a Browns fan’s concerned, in 2020. The squad went 11-5, and even without the likes of their head coach in Kevin Stefanski on-site (COVID-19), won their Wild Card contest at the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cleveland would end up losing at the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium the following round from there, but last season was clearly a step forward for the Browns. That postseason win at Pittsburgh, their archrival, was the first postseason victory for the Orange and Brown since 1995, too.

In relation to next season, after that one where the Browns seemed to get their mojo going hopefully, one would imagine Cleveland could be poised to take the next step. They’ve had what’s appeared to be a knock-it-out-of-the-park offseason, in which they landed the likes of John Johnson III, Troy Hill, Jadeveon Clowney, and Malik Jackson, for instance, in free agency.

And to further fortify their defense, which was the weak link admittedly last season, Cleveland ended up adding the likes of Greg Newsome II and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the 2021 NFL Draft. Tommy Togiai could end being an interior force on that side of the ball, too, and Andrew Billings being back this next season after opting out last season (COVID-19 concerns) shouldn’t be glossed over, either.

From there, on the offensive side of the ball, the Browns again look to be well-equipped for a deep postseason run. Baker Mayfield closed out the season, to a large extent, from Week 7 onward strong, and we know what the offensive line and Cleveland’s running back tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt can provide.

So when looking at how the Browns could be next season, it does again seem that they could very well be a legitimate Super Bowl contender, and CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco foresees that being the case as well. In his post-draft NFL Power Rankings, Prisco had Cleveland in at No. 5, and emphasized how they appear ready to really hit the gas.

Here was what he had to say about the Brownies this go-round.

"“Their roster is filled with talent, and they had a solid draft to add to it. If they get healthy seasons from Odell Beckham Jr., Greedy Williams and Grant Delpit, look out.” — Prisco"

Prisco’s comments show how the Browns look ready to rock n’ roll.

With the aforementioned defensive acquisitions, such as Johnson and Hill (from a slot cornerback standpoint), that should definitely aid Cleveland’s pass defense, for one. The same would appear to be the case in regards to Owusu-Koramoah, who is essentially another DB and is an impact blitzer, as DPD’s Sam Penix recently detailed.

Clowney, although there is always the health question mark, could be a difference-maker if he’s mostly available too, and his run defensive abilities shouldn’t be discounted. Not to mention how his presence opposite Myles Garrett and on the inside in pass-rush situations could greatly aid Cleveland’s defense.

Plus, we didn’t even touch on how Grant Delpit, who had nine pass deflections, 5.0 sacks, and five interceptions in 2018 at LSU as a sophomore, most notably, could make an impact for Cleveland in a variety of ways. He will be coming off a ruptured Achilles, in relation to his absence last season, of course, though, so we’ll see.

But his presence, to go with Johnson and Ronnie Harrison would be a heck of a safety trio, and should provide the Browns with big-time versatility with the size of each and coverage instincts. One could consider JOK to be in that safety skillset/realm, too, for what it’s worth, based on Penix’s analysis.

Moving along, on the offensive side of the ball, the Browns had the third-most rushing yards in the NFL last season, and that was without Chubb in there for four games, even (MCL sprain).

The presence of that running game, and hopefully, Beckham, provided he can be mostly healthy and if he sticks around through the season, given trade rumors, should enable Mayfield to take further strides and build off last season’s progress.

And in regards to another potential weapon, the Browns added Anthony Schwartz in the third round out of Auburn, who is lightning fast, and that’s basically not hyperbole. The presence of Schwartz alone in some packages/snaps throughout games could help open up guys such as Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper, and/or Kareem Hunt more underneath/inside the numbers as well.

Perhaps we could see some jet motion runs from him here and there a la Mecole Hardman, and/or maybe Schwartz could be a player Cleveland sends in motion in that way, which could only help them pre-snap to aid in getting the offense better matchups.

Maybe the same sort of principle could apply for sixth-round selection out of UCLA, Demetric Felton, who is a burner of sorts, too, and had 1752 all-purpose yards in his last two seasons as a Bruin as a wideout/running back. He could potentially be a returner at times and/or more so be a factor there, too.

Moreover, factoring in the offseason the Browns have had to this point, and with what they showed last season with Stefanski in his first year as head coach, they seem to be legitimately capable of beating anybody in the league. They are loaded, and could go all the way if they gel in all three phrases.

Next. JOK much more than a linebacker. dark

We’ll have to see what plays out, though. But Prisco’s comments above should have Browns fans very, very pumped for 2021.