3 mistakes that doomed the Browns in 2023

The Cleveland Browns fell short in 2023. Find out the three key areas where they struggled and how it impacted them.

Cleveland Browns
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2. Browns should have drafted a RB

When the Browns decided not to retain Kareem Hunt, it was widely believed they would be bringing in a rookie to help replace him. Hunt was still effective in 2022 but the front office believed he had lost a step — which is what led to the idea of a rookie coming in and working behind Nick Chubb. That's not what happened, however.

Instead, Cleveland banked on Jerome Ford as the No. 2 back and they had Demetric Felton and John Kelly fight for the third spot in camp. Neither impressed enough to keep their roster spot and the Browns swung a trade for Pierre Strong, Jr. who spent his rookie season with the New England Patriots.

That backfield would have been fine if Chubb stayed healthy but that's not what happened. The star back was lost during their Week 2 defeat at the hands of the Steelers and Ford was pressed into action. They re-signed Hunt, who had yet to land with a new team. Ford led the way with 813 yards and four touchdowns while averaging just 4.0 yards per carry. Hunt finished with nine touchdowns but averaged just 3.6 yards per attempt, finishing with 411.

Strong was their most productive runner after Chubb, finishing with 291 yards on just 63 attempts — for an average of 4.6 per attempt. He also averaged 9.4 yards per catch but was used often on special teams and never seemed to have the full trust of the offensive staff.

In all, the Browns had 2,017 yards but averaged a mere 3.9 yards per rush — which was 26th in the league. In the third round, they had a shot at De'Von Achane and Tyjae Spears but elected to go with Cedric Tillman. While Tillman was fine, there's a chance he could have been there later in the round when they took Siaki Ika — who hardly saw the field.

As for Achane, he finished with 800 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 7.8 yards per attempt. He even had 197 yards and three more scores as a receiver in just 11 games. Spears had 453 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and 385 yards and a touchdown on 52 receptions. Either would have been an improvement over Ford and could have made a massive difference down the stretch.