Cleveland Browns Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles
You have to hand it to Browns fans…..year after year their drafts are bad, their NFL seasons are bad and often their player’s off-the-field headlines are bad, but the fans remain loyal and the dog pound comes out regardless. The Brown’s first round picks have been so ugly, they make onions cry. ( Cleveland Drafts ) The NFL thrives on good competition,and so does fantasy football, so everyone is hoping ( or should be) that new HC Hue Jackson and the Browns turn it around in 2016, with a solid NFL Draft in April, and a strong team on the field in September. (For more “so ugly” jokes- LINK-)
2016 Team Outlook– The Cleveland Browns are in the AFC North Division with Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore. ( Prior to 2002, the Browns were in the AFC Central Division- LINK- ) Since joining the AFC North, the Browns have never won the division, and have only had two winning seasons in those 14 years. Desperate to address organizational chaos, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam reached into the world of baseball analytics and hired Paul DePodesta of Moneyball fame to reshape the woeful Cleveland franchise. With a 3-13 season record in 2015, the Browns currently have the 2nd overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
2016 Fantasy Football Outlook-
In Utter-Fantasy’s Chicago Bears Team Profile, I wrote….”Fantasy football owners are not dependent on winning seasons from NFL teams, to get great fantasy football players.” This could not be more true, especially in regards to the Cleveland Browns. In 2013 when the Browns went 4-12, CLEV WR Josh Gordon was the #1 wide receiver in the NFL. TE Gary Barnidge was a fantasy stud in 2015, and projects to be one again in 2016.
QB– Josh McCown, J Manziel, Austin Davis, Brian Hoyer, Connor Shaw, Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, Thad Lewis, Colt McCoy, Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Ken Dorsey, Bruce Gradkowski, Charlie Frye…16 starting quarterbacks for the Cleveland Browns in the past 10 years. Of course the Browns will draft yet another young quarterback, and unfortunately there’s no time to spend a year holding a clipboard anymore to learn the NFL, before being thrown right in. UPDATE: Robert Griffin III signed 2-year deal w/ CLEV.
RBs- Even with the RBBC approach in Cleveland and playing on a bad team, RB Isaiah Crowell has made the most of his situation, ranking #29 RB in the NFL for 2015. The Brown’s wasted a 3rd Round selection in 2014 on Terrance West, but they rebounded in Round 4 in 2015 with a solid running back in Duke Johnson, who ranked #37 RB last season. (Cleveland’s 2015 NFL Draft)
WRs– March 24th, 2015- A two-year contract worth $12.5 million with $9 million guaranteed and a $3.5 million signing bonus-UGH!! That’s what the Browns’ gave up for WR Dwayne Bowe. And what did they get for it so far? 5 receptions for 53 yards. … $1.6 million dollars a reception in 2015. Meanwhile, WR Josh Gordon is waiting patiently to be reinstated and the Brown’s will be smart to keep him. Gordon has kept himself out of trouble, which is finally some good news for Cleveland. WR Travis Benjamin is a free agent. UPDATE: Travis Benjamin signed with San Diego.
TEs– Did You Know- CLEV’s start TE Gary Barnidge was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft? Barnidge played in all 16 games in 2105, he ended the season as the #3 TE in the NFL, with 79 receptions, 1043 receiving yards and 9 TDs.
K– Travis Coons played college football at the University of Washington and was signed by the Browns on December 30, 2014, following the release of Billy Cundiff. During the 2015 preseason, Coons beat out Carey Spear for the starting kicker job.
DEF- According to the “Footballoutsiders website” for 2015, The Browns had the 4th worst defense in the NFL- ranking 27th vs the pass, and 26th vs the run. Cleveland Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson announced that Ray Horton will rejoin the team as defensive coordinator. Horton has been an NFL defensive coordinator the past five seasons, including the 2013 season when he served as the Browns defensive coordinator. ( NFL.com article )
2015 Cleveland Fantasy Surprises– TE Gary Barnidge’s 9 TDs were 4th best in the among NFL tight ends, only Gronk, WASH Jordan Reed and CIN Tyler Eifert had more. Rookie RB Duke Johnson ranked as the #37 RB last season, with 379 rushing yards, but surprised many with his 534 receiving yards ( 5th best among running backs) along with 2 receiving touchdowns.
2016 Free Agents that Cleveland Needs to Address– WR Travis Benjamin, WR Terrelle Pryor, RT Mitchell Schwartz, FS Tashaun Gipson, ILB Craig Robertson, T/G Austin Pasztor, CB Johnson Bademosi, ILB Tank Carder, C Alex Mack
2016 NFL Draft– Maybe Cleveland takes page out of the Oakland’s Drafting handbook and waits until Round 2 for a quarterback. In 2014, while Cleveland spent a 1st round pick on Manziel, the Raider’s waited until Round 2 and got Derek Carr, who is still their starting quarterback. Even if WR WR gordon is reinstated, the Browns need help at wide receiver. Other needs: Cornerback, safety, outside linebacker and O-line reinforcements.
Did You Know– In 1963, Jim Brown became the first Browns player to ever gain more than 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game? Jim Brown rushed for more 100 yard games than any other player during the 1960s with 39. Also, Jim Brown also holds the Browns team mark for most 100 yard games at 58.
Team home page: www.clevelandbrowns.com
All team reports can be seen here- TEAM REPORTS