Cleveland Browns Team Overview 2020
This is our Cleveland Browns Team Overview 2020. It will detail everything you need to know about the Cleveland Browns for this upcoming season.
Cleveland Browns Overview
Jimmy Haslam and Dee Haslam. The Haslam’s bought the team from Jimmy Lerner who was Al Lerner’s son. Al Lerner was the man responsible for assisting Art Modell to move the original Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1996. This was very upsetting to the Cleveland fan base but this stemmed around a new stadium deal and how to pay for it. I’m pretty sure there were other reasons too. So the Ravens are actually the original Cleveland Browns.
The interesting thing is that in agreement with the NFL, Art Modell agreed to leave the name, colors and history behind in Cleveland for a new team to move to Cleveland or for an expansion team. The latter happened and in 1998 Al Lerner bought the expansion team for $350 million dollars.
So it’s kind of interesting how 3 teams, if you include the Bengals and Paul Brown, all stemmed from the Cleveland Browns. You can also see how devastating it has been for the new expansion Cleveland Browns to have success while the Ravens have won 2 super bowls. I feel bad for you Browns fans.
Andrew Berry. Berry is only 33 years old and was previously a scout for the Colts and management responsibilities with the Eagles and Browns before returning back to Cleveland in 2020 to become the general manager.
The previous GM was John Dorsey but the Haslam’s wanted a change this off season in both the GM and HC positions. I think Berry did a pretty good job in his first draft. He also signed a couple of really good free agents. This is easily the most talented Browns team since it’s new existence in 1998.
Kevin Stefanski. Stefanski comes from Minnesota where he was the play caller and offensive coordinator. He only ever started with the Vikings as his NFL coaching career in 2006. He then worked his way up to become the OC for only 1 season in 2019. He was the interim OC in 2018.
However, he really only has 1 season of OC experience but was guided by NFL great Gary Kubiak. Stefanski did a great job but it will be interesting to see how much knowledge he retains moving forward with the Browns. Stefanski is an ivy league alumn so I think he will do just fine calling the plays for the Browns in 2020.
Fantasy Outlook for the Browns
QB: Baker Mayfield
Baker kind of showed his true capabilities last season. It is known he isn’t a very accurate thrower. He is definitely a gun slinger when he scrambles but the ball doesn’t always find the right player. This is why the new head coach Stefanski will be running the ball a lot and setting up easier throws for Mayfield.
The run game should work really well with Chubb and an improved offensive line so the play action passes will be there for Mayfield. However, I don’t anticipate huge numbers from Mayfield. He should have numbers like Kirk Cousins did for the Vikings last season. Stefanski came from the Vikings last year.
My projections for Mayfield will be around 3,700 yards passing and 25 passing touchdowns. I wouldn’t have Mayfield on your fantasy team this season. Very little upside in his ability and in this new offensive run heavy scheme.
RB: Nick Chubb
I really like Chubb and this new offensive line. Chubb already had close to 1,500 yards rushing last season on 240 carries. I think he has close to 260 carries this season for around 1,200 yards rushing and 12 total touchdowns. He should also get around 35 catches for another 250 yards.
The only concern is what will be Kareem Hunt’s workload. The Browns placed a 2nd round tender on Hunt this off season and whenever a team does that to a player that means they are very high on them.
Overall, I think it matters a little bit. Chubb has shown he is a much better runner compared to Hunt even just comparing Hunt’s limited workload last season to Chubb. Hunt will be used in the passing game more than Chubb but I still like Chubb to get around 220 fantasy points in 2020. If he is available to you in the early 2nd round then I would definitely draft him.
RB: Kareem Hunt
I wouldn’t bother taking a risk on Hunt. He is being drafted around the 7th or 8th round in fantasy mock drafts. You just don’t know what you are getting with Hunt. There are more predictable situations at running back.
I think his numbers are a lot better in 2020 but it will be hard to predict how much he gets used. I think Chubb really solidified his position last season as the feature back going forward.
WR: Odell Beckham Jr.
If OBJ is healthy then I like him to be the Adam Theilen of this Stefanski offense. Mayfield has better rapport with Landry than OBJ but I still like OBJ to have a really good season in 2020. Even with OBJ hurt last season, he still had 1,000 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. I think in this new offense OBJ can definitely get to around 1,200 yards on 85 catches and get close to 10 touchdowns.
This would be good for around 220 fantasy points. This would put OBJ in the top 5 fantasy wide receivers for 2020. I don’t know, there is just something about great players not staying quiet for long. I think this applies to OBJ in 2020. OBJ is being drafted around the late 2nd to early 3rd round.
If he falls to you in the late 3rd or early 4th round then you should be ecstatic. I would draft OBJ if he fell to me in the 3rd or 4th round but not in the 2nd. I am taking running backs until the cows come home.
WR: Jarvis Landry
I like Jarvis a lot this season. He had the best rapport with Mayfield. Also, in Stefanski’s offense, they hardly ever throw to a 3rd wide receiver. This means that Landry and OBJ will dominate the targets thrown by Mayfield.
I like Landry to easily get to 80 receptions for over 1,000 yards and close to 8 touchdowns. He should get close to 190 points. If that holds true then he will be a top 14 fantasy wide receiver in the NFL. He is currently being drafted around the 6th round and that would be a great value pick for any fantasy owner.
TE: Austin Hooper
David Njoku is unhappy in Cleveland. Hooper was their big offseason free agent signing. I think Hooper dominates the targets from Njoku. I like Hooper to have around 60 catches for 650 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Hooper is being drafted around the 7th round. I am just not a big believer in drafting tight ends high at all. I always take tight ends after the 10th round. Hooper will only get you around 130 fantasy points this season. It’s just not worth taking in the 7th round of your fantasy draft when you can draft great QB’s, and WR/RB depth.
Browns 2020 Offensive Preview
The play caller will most likely be Kevin Stefanski who is also the head coach. I really liked this hire by the GM Andrew Berry. Cleveland needs to figure out their offense. This has been the problem for many years now. Although Stefanski has only been an OC for one season with the Vikings, I still like him to grow and develop into a good future play caller. He studied under Gary Kubiak last season.
The vikings had a very efficient offense. They were 8th in scoring and had a great running game. They weren’t amazing in the passing game but had good moments. The Kubiak offense was first originated by Mike Shanahan and Kubiak together. This offense is based off of the stretch zone which then uses play action boot legs to throw to receivers. The Browns definitely have the running back and offensive line to run this successful run game in 2020.
The offensive coordinator is Alex Van Pelt. AVP has only one season of calling plays and Stefanski hasn’t said who will call plays this season. But I feel strongly it will be Stefanski. He can’t have too many voices in Mayfield’s ear. Many believe that has been the problem in Mayfield development the last 2 seasons.
Overall, the Browns should see similar play calling to what the Vikings did last year. They have almost an identical roster in terms of talent at each position. They will use Nick Chubb like Dalvin Cook, OBJ like Adam Theilen and Jarvis Landry like Stefon Diggs. Also Hooper looks to be in the Kyle Rudoplh role.
I think Baker will have easier throws to help him with his consistent accuracy problems that he had last year. This should also help the Browns keep their turnovers low. I like this offense to rebound strongly in 2020.
Browns 2020 Defensive Preview
The defensive coordinator is Joe Woods. Woods is a longtime defensive backs coach for the Vikings, Raiders, Broncos and 49ers. He was the defensive coordinator for 2 seasons with the Broncos in 2017 and 2018. In 2019 he was the DB’s coach for the 49ers. He was really well liked by the 49ers players last season.
I really like this hire by Stefanski. In 2017 Woods was number 3 in the NFL in yards against but still gave up the 10th most points in the NFL. In 2018 it was the opposite and he was the 13th best defense in points allowed. Now in 2020, Woods says he will take all of the things he has learned from 4 or 5 great defensive minds into his 2020 Cleveland Browns scheme. After reading through all of the articles on Woods, I really like him and think that he is going to do a great job with the Browns.
He sounds like he knows what he is talking about and how to smartly go about this thing. He will stick with the 4-3 base defense but says that he wants to transition eventually to a 4-2-5 defense. This is essentially a dime package that takes out a linebacker and replaces it with a 3rd safety to make 5 defensive backs. A lot of college’s run this type of defense to create better matchups against the pass.
Being that Woods is a longtime defensive backs coach, this is no surprise that he would like to have 5 defensive backs on the field instead of 3 linebackers. Woods also talked about making this new defensive scheme easy to understand and showing the same look to offenses but then having different coverages off of that same look.
This is what every NFL defense tries to do but Woods seems like he knows what he is talking about. He lastly said that the Browns have to stop the run. He says he feels really good about his starting 4 defensive lineman but is unsure about how physical his linebackers will be. He has been on staffs with people like Kyle Shanahan and he said that you have to make offenses like Shanahan’s 1 dimensional in order to have success.
Browns Defensive Line
So with all of that said, let’s take a look at the players. The defensive line is anchored by 2 really good ends in Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon. Garrett just signed a huge contract this off season and told all his hater on instagram to keep doubting him. Garrett is a former #1 pick but has also had some character and hustle issues during his short career. There is no denying that Garrett might be the best pass rusher by the end of this season. He had 13 sacks in 2018 and 10 sacks in 2019 but only played 10 games in 2019. He is an overall disruptive player.
Vernon is a longtime NFL veteran and has solid pass rushing ability too. He only had double digit sacks once in his career but he can still get to around 8 sacks a year. Vernon is also very good against the run too.
The back ups are Chad Thomas and Adrian Clayborn. Thomas is going into his 3rd season and was a 3rd round pick out of Miami. Thomas started 8 games last season and had 4 sacks. Clayborn will be 32 this season but he has always made a lot of plays. Overall, the defensive end group is a solid group. They will be very happy with those 4 players.
The interior defensive lineman will be Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi. Ojunjobi had 6 sacks last season and 5 the season before. He came out of Charlotte and I remember teams liking him because of his pass rushing ability.
However, I don’t think he has been the most stout against the run. Richardson I believe was a former 1st round pick. He is a veteran and played well for the Browns last season. To help with the interior the Browns drafted Jordan Elliot in the 3rd round out of Missouri. Elliot is best against the run. He doesn’t have much of a pass rush according to the scouts.
However, the scouts did say he wasn’t amazing against the run either but he has potential and work ethic. The other back up is Daniel Ekuale. Ekuale was on the team last season. Overall, I like this D-line. They have a lot of potential in rushing the passer from the inside to the ends.
The biggest concern is that they return all 4 starters from last season and they were one of the worst teams in stopping the run. Hopefully for the Browns this was more of a scheme problem then personnel problem. On paper it looks like these 4 should be a lot better against the run.
Let’s look at the linebackers now. The starters should be Mack Wilson, BJ Goodson, Jacob Phillips and Sione Takitaki. Wilson was a rookie out of Alabama last season and was a 5th round draft pick for the Browns.
Wilson admitted that he had a lot of mental errors last season but also said that he has the drive and determination to put it all together in year 2. Wilson has all the ability and is pretty good in pass coverage as well.
The Browns will depend on Wilson this season because the other 3 linebackers are not as talented or haven’t played as many snaps as he has. BJ Goodson is entering his 5th season in the NFL. He started the most games with the Giants in 2018. Goodson had a good year in 2018 but didn’t play as much with the Packers in 2019.
He has a ton of faith in his game and signed a 1 year deal with the Browns this off season. He thinks he can be one of the best linebackers in the game. I think Mack Wilson and Goodson probably start the season. Phillips is a 3rd round rookie from LSU but didn’t play a lot on passing downs and also didn’t have a lot of tackles for loss. Some scouts think that the Browns reached for Phillips.
Who knows, he could pan out but many scouts thought he would just be a special teams player. Takitaki was a 3rd round pick in the 2019 draft. He played more special teams plays then defensive plays in 2019. He is labeled as a tweener due to his size. I can see why many are concerned about this linebacking group.
I do have a lot of faith in Wilson to really improve in 2020. I like how confident Goodson is and how he will play in a contract year. Phillips is a project and so is Takitaki. I think there is potential to stop the run here but it looks like that 3rd linebacker spot will be shaky this season. Maybe even 2 spots potentially. I can now understand why Woods wants to use 3 safeties instead of 3 linebackers.
Overall, the front 7 is probably average at best against the run with some potential to be good. However, they have a possibility to be really bad against the run again. This will all be determined by the interior of this front 7. Definitely something to monitor. Let’s look at the secondary now.
The cornerbacks are Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward. Both Ward and Williams were high draft picks the last 2 seasons. Ward is the better player and has potential to be one of the better corners in the NFL in his 3rd season. Williams didn’t have a great rookie season. He was very inconsistent and if he doesn’t play better in 2020 then he could get benched quickly.
The other corners of note are Terrance Mitchell and Kevin Johnson. Johnson is a former first round pick in 2015. He looks to be the early candidate to play in the slot. He hasn’t played a whole lot in his career though and only has 1 NFL interception. Mitchell was with the Browns last season and played a little.
He will push Williams for the starting spot like he did last training camp. Mitchell had 4 interceptions in 2017. Overall, this cornerback group isn’t terrible. There is definitely some talent and experience to coach up by Joe Woods. Woods thrives in coaching cornerbacks so I feel pretty confident in Woods finding a good solution at cornerback.
The safeties are Karl Joseph, Andrew Sendejo, Sheldrick Redwine and Grant Delpit. Sendejo has played for Joe Woods in the past and he is a longtime NFL veteran. He will be 33 years old this season but still had 3 interceptions last season.
He will probably play quite a bit if Woods really does want to play 3 safeties instead of 3 linebackers. The starters look to be Karl Joseph and Grant Delpit. Joseph was having his best season last year with the Raiders before he hurt his foot. Joseph is a physical safety and will enter into his 5th season.
Delpit is a rookie out of LSU. He was highly touted coming out of LSU. I watched him a little last season but he didn’t impress me too much. I heard that he was playing through some injuries. He was the Browns 2nd round pick this past draft. He seems to be more of a free safety compared to the other 2 safeties.
The last safety to mention is Sheldrick Redwine. He was a 4th round pick out of Miami last season. He started a couple of games late last season due to other players becoming injured and impressed coaches. All and all, this secondary has enough talent for Joe Woods to make into a pretty good secondary. There is definitely some developing that needs to be done in 2 spots but I like Woods to have this secondary become a little above average group.
Conclusion for Browns Defense
The big key for this defense will be stopping the run. The linebackers are definitely something to monitor and also the defensive tackles. If the Browns struggle against the run again then this could spell trouble for the Browns in 2020. Overall, I see this defense as being below average against the run and above average against the pass. They will be a middle tier defense in points allowed in 2020.
Fun Facts About Coaches
Joe Woods the new DC is the talk of the town. He brings tons of experience coaching defense from a lot of defensive gurus.
Bill Callahan, the Redskins interim head coach last season will be the offensive line coach. This is more reason to love Nick Chubb on your fantasy team.
Browns Contract Year Players
DL: Olivier Vernon
S: Karl Joseph
LB: BJ Goodson
DL: Larry Ogunojobi
Cleveland Browns Offensive Line Preview
This is a really good looking offensive line for the Browns. They signed Jack Conklin from the Titans and he is a really good run blocking tackle. He will play right tackle. He is above average in pass protection too.
They used their 1st round pick on Jedrick Wills from Alabama. Wills is a great run blocker and developed into a nice pass protector too. Many people thought Wills was going to be the first lineman to go in the draft. Will will play left tackle.
Last year’s right tackle is Chris Hubbard and he will back up both Wills and Conklin. The Browns have a good situation at both tackle positions. The left guard is Joe Bitonio. Bitonio is really good in pass protection but is also a very good run blocker.
The center is JC Tretter. Tretter is an NFL vet and is an above average center. He is a better pass protector then run blocker but still a very capable run blocker. The right guard is the biggest question on the line. It is held by Wyatt Teller.
Teller is good in pass protection but not a very good run blocker. The back up is Willie Wright or Nick Harris who is a 5th round rookie. Wright hasn’t played at all and Harris is definitely a project.
The only other notable back up is Kendall Lamm but he is more of a tackle then a guard. I guess if they get desperate they could move either Wills or Conklin to guard and have Hubbard or Lamm start at tackle. Either way, this should be an above average O-line.