The Cleveland Browns have been the embarrassment of the NFL for years now and things don’t look any better after going a terrible 0-16 in 2017. There is hope however and I’m here to tell you how I think the Browns could be fixed.
- Fire Hue Jackson
This may seem like an odd proposition as consistency at the head coach position is vital to a good team. The problem is however that Jackson is not what the Browns need. Jackson proved this in his completely incompetent handling of DeShone Kizer this season. Constantly benching and starting Kizer badly hurt his confidence, and even when he let Kizer play, he put him in terrible situations. For most of the season Kizer had to deal with what was by far the worst receiving core in the league. On top of this, Jackson’s play calling had Kizer throwing the ball deeper than 90% of the quarterbacks in the league on average. This is not how to help develop a young talented quarterback. This also was relying on an offensive line that has talent, but just flat out didn’t play well for most of the season. Jackson also made poor decisions on when to run the ball. He ran the ball very little against some of the worst run defenses in the league this year in games where the Browns’ run defense was producing on a high level. Jackson’s incompetence proved that he is not worthy if the Browns head coaching position.
2. Give Deshone Kizer another season
Kizer is a very talented player who showed promise at points during the season. Giving him another season not only allows the Browns to fully evaluate whether he can be there guy, but also allows them to build more offensive talent around whatever their long term quarterback end up being. Kizer’s numbers look bad, but let it be noted that around mid-season Kizer had already thrown 5 interceptions and lost 363 yards due to receiver drops, and those numbers have only gone up since then. This was showcased in the final game of the season where Kizer impressively escaped a sack on 4th and 2 in the 4th quarter and delivered a dime to Corey Coleman for what would’ve been a first down and a significant gain with a chance to win and Coleman dropped it after it hitting both of his hands. Take away receiver error and Kizer looks much more statistically acceptable as a quarterback. Next season the Browns should also have a much better offense even with Hue Jackson still there with the talent of Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman hopefully on the field more, David Njoku improving off of a promising rookie year, Joe Thomas returning, Duke Johnson still being a nice weapon, and perhaps some drafted talent. With this talent, Kizer will have every opportunity to show he can be the guy and if he doesn’t show that, then there will be no regrets about drafting a quarterback in what appears to be a talented 2019 QB draft class.
3. Draft Saquon Barkley at Number 1 and build your secondary in the first round
Drafting Saquon Barkley is a no-brainer if you want to keep Kizer. Isaiah Crowell is not a good running back and Barkley appears to be a generational talent that could be a top back in the league. The Browns secondary is bad and need help. If I were the Browns’ GM, I would draft cornerback Joshua Jackson out of Iowa with their second first round pick. Jackson is a big-time play-maker with incredible ball skills. Jackson is good in coverage as well and has great explosive athleticism and length to be a prototype cornerback in the NFL. I would project him as a Marcus Peters type player with better coverage skills. This would allow Jabrill Peppers to have his opportunity to prove himself and give the Browns a big-time defensive back.
See what Harun, Jon, and I did in our most recent mock draft here
4. Improve the offense in the second round and later
The Browns’ top receivers have not been able to be on the field enough in the last two years and they have some important offensive lineman that are aging. Adding talented depth at receiver and offensive line could have a massive positive impact on the offense both immediately and long term. The receivers particularly could be used immediately and both could provide competition.
5. Free Agency
This one is simple: KEep Josh Gordon and go after Jarvis Landry or Allen Robinson.
Reasons for hope
I don’t believe in Hue Jackson, but it’s possible that if my other suggestions are followed or something similar is done that he could put whatever quarterback he has in a position to succeed. The Browns have lots of talent and are only going to get better. If this talent can be used competently, the Browns can turn around in a relatively short amount of time. That’s a big if though.