Browns GM Andrew Berry strong candidate for NFL Executive of the Year

• The defense has improved 10-fold

• There is finally a kicker in Cleveland

• The Browns have won with four different quarterbacks

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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Dustin Hopkins has proven to be the trade of the year

It's not often that you talk about a trade for a kicker being a big deal, but for the Browns, it has been a massive deal. Cleveland traded a seventh round pick to the Los Angeles Chargers in exchange for veteran kicker Dustin Hopkins on the last day of training camp. Some fans scoffed at the notion that Berry would give up draft capital in favor of a kicker who lost a camp battle. Well, Hopkins has proven that the risk was rewarded and the Browns have benefitted greatly.

Hopkins leads the NFL with 33 made field goals on 36 attempts. He's tied for the league lead with eight field goals from 50-plus yards, including a career-best 58-yarder. He has four game-winning field goals inside of two minutes, which also leads the league. His 33 field goals have surpassed Browns' legend Phil Dawson (30) for the franchise record.

Another record Hopkins is approaching is the most points scored in a season. Hopkins has 121 points on the season with 33 field goals while connecting on 22-of-24 on extra point tries, and that is just five points less than Browns' and NFL legend Jim Brown scored back in 1964. Cleveland has needed every single one of those points this season and that's a huge reason they are sitting at 9-5 and controlling their own destiny to the playoffs.