Long Road Ahead: Three areas for the Cleveland Browns to improve in

 

A record of 67-157. I’ll repeat that, 67-157. Some may wonder what do those numbers have to do with the Cleveland Browns. The Browns have gone 67-157 since 2003. It’s safe to say they haven’t had a playoff appearance in that time frame. In fact, the Browns last playoff appearance happened in 2002, where they lost to division rival Pittsburgh.

The team has whiffed on draft picks like Phil Taylor, Trent Richardson, and Justin Gilbert. Cleveland has also failed to make picks like Julio Jones, Luke Kuechly, and Aaron Donald.

Even draft picks Cleveland would get right, the team wouldn’t keep. Offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz and receiver Travis Benjamin were drafted by the Browns in 2012. They are now playing with other organizations.

Cleveland still has a young team that’s full of potential. Danny Shelton, Cleveland’s nose tackle, is up and coming. The Browns just re-signed Jamie Collins, one of the best linebackers in the game. Some work is still left to do, to get the Browns back to the playoffs. Here are three fixes that could do just that.

Build the Offensive Line……Again

Two years ago the Browns had a very solid offensive line. Joe Thomas has been their left tackle since 2007. Cleveland had an All-Pro center in Alex Mack. The Browns also employed a good right tackle in Mitchell Schwartz. Fast forward to 2017, and at the moment the only lineman left is Joe Thomas.

It’s no secret in the NFL, in order to be good you have to have a good offensive line. The Browns do not have that at the moment. In 2016, Cleveland allowed 66 sacks to their QBs. That’s 17 more than the next closest team, the Los Angeles Rams.

To make matters worse, the Browns managed to get three quarterbacks injures: Robert Griffin III, Cody Kessler, and Luke McCown.

The Browns have to get this line back to dominance via free agency and the NFL Draft. The guard position could be upgraded by bringing in either TJ Lang or Ron Leary. Via the draft, Cleveland can target Ryan Ramczyk from Wisconsin who would fit in nicely at RT.

Those two pickups, in addition to Joe Thomas and Cameron Erving, could catapult the Browns into having one of the best OL’s in the league.

Build Up the Secondary

The only thing positive about the Browns secondary is Joe Haden. However, Haden isn’t getting any younger. Before the 2017 season starts, Haden will be 28 years old. That’s not old, but in NFL terms, that’s not young either.

Cleveland has the most money out of all 32 teams to spend in free agency. High caliber CBs like Stephon Gilmore and Trumaine Johnson can be had via free agency. As well as highly touted safeties like DJ Swearinger and Matt Elam.

Draft wise, Cleveland can target a CB like Quincy Wilson with the 12th pick. The Browns could wait and go after S Justin Evans from Texas A&M one round later.

With quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco in the same division, the secondary has to get better for Cleveland.

Re-Sign Terrelle Pryor

In the lone bright spot for the Browns in 2016, Terrelle Pryor played his tail off. The once journeyman cemented himself as a WR with 77 receptions, 1,007 yards, and four TDs. This was all with a QB carousel going on in Cleveland.

Pryor is a big WR who has leaping ability like no other. Terrelle is a red zone threat that creates matchup problems with virtually any CB.

Corey Coleman, the Browns first round selection in 2016, compliments Pryor nicely. Coleman is a smaller WR, who is shifty and fast. These two could be a scary tandem for years to come if Cleveland is able to retain Pryor.

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