Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski joined the Cleveland Browns in 2020 and have done a remarkable job changing the culture. They not only put together an impressive collection of star players but they also built one of the deepest rosters in the NFL.
Berry, as the general manager, has been able to find depth both in free agency and the NFL Draft. Just this year, they had to rely heavily on players such as Jerome Ford — who was added in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft — and Dawand Jones — who was taken in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Building through the draft is the best way to put together a championship roster and it's why the Browns are a team to watch for years to come. With that being said, we look ahead to the 2024 offseason with our latest Browns mock draft.
Round 2: Brenden Rice, WR, USC
As good as the roster is in Cleveland, there's still one position that needs some help — wide receiver. Amari Cooper has continued to prove he's a legit No. 1 wideout and even became the first player in franchise history to record consecutive 1,000-yard campaigns. Elijah Moore did well overall as the WR2 and was improving once Joe Flacco took over.
However, when both were unavailable in Week 17 (Cooper sat out and Moore was hurt during the game) it became painfully obvious they needed more playmakers. Cedric Tillman was their top pick in 2023 and could still develop into a major weapon but they can't wait around. Instead, they go out and add someone who can beat man coverage in Brenden Rice from USC.
Rice, who is the son of Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, has progressed over the past two seasons he's been with the Trojans — he began his career at Colorado — and can still grow as a player. He finished 2023 with 791 yards on 45 receptions, proving to be a real deep threat with 17.6 yards per catch. He also scored 12 touchdowns, using his 6-foot-3 and 210-pound frame to his advantage.
Adding Rice to the roster not only gives them someone who can stretch the field now but he's also a player they can groom to take over when Cooper ends up having to leave. Hopefully, that won't be for several more years, but planning for the future is never a bad idea.