Around the North: Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 01: Duke Johnson #29 of the Cleveland Browns attempts to move the ball down the field in the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller /Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 01: Duke Johnson #29 of the Cleveland Browns attempts to move the ball down the field in the second half against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller /Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns have been one of the most active teams since the start of the new league year. Where will that put them in 2018?

Under new GM John Dorsey, who was hired late in the 2017 season, the Cleveland Browns have made the headlines consistently with their moves this offseason. They started off the new league year by trading a 2018 third-round pick for Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Following the trade, the Browns sent last years rookie quarterback DeShon Kizer to the Green Bay Packers for a fourth-round pick and defensive back Damarious Randall.

In the same day, the team also traded a 2018 fourth-round pick and 2019 seventh-round pick for Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry. Cleveland followed up on the second day signing names like cornerback Terrance Mitchell, cornerback T.J. Carrie, and running back Carlos Hyde. They’ve also signed cornerback E.J. Gaines more recently.

Dorsey has been aggressive at finding immediate impact players to help bridge this team into the future and out of the losing past. Taylor gives them probably the best bridge quarterback as they find their future hopefully in the 2018 draft. The team holds five picks in the first two rounds, including the first and fourth overall picks.

When speaking with Thomas Moore of the Dawg Pound Daily, Cleveland Browns FanSided page, he seems to think that they are moving in the right direction bringing in Tyrod Taylor. They will likely draft a quarterback with one of those first picks and let him sit behind Taylor for a season. In fact, acquiring Taylor is his favorite moves the Browns have made so far this offseason.

“Acquiring Tyrod Taylor to play quarterback this fall. The Browns have been searching for a viable bridge quarterback for close to 15 years now and Taylor is so suited for the role that it is almost as if the Browns ordered him from a catalog. Taylor is good, but not good enough to keep the Browns from selecting a quarterback with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. His contract expires after this year so he will be motivated to play well to earn a new deal, but the Browns don’t have to worry about investing him in past this season.”

Even with all of the moves the Browns have made, it’s too early to be calling them a likely contender in the North. There is still plenty of work to be done to a franchise that has only seen a single win in the last two seasons. They are headed in the right direction and if Dorsey can improve his contracts with players from what he did in Kansas City, the Browns could be looking at a contender spot in the next couple of seasons. It seems too early to tell given it is his first offseason in the new program.

“It is still a bit too early to tell about Dorsey. He has made some nice moves — trading for Taylor and wide receiver Jarvis Landry, and signing cornerbacks E.J. Gaines and T.J. Carrie – so that’s good. The true test will come on draft weekend, however, as Dorsey needs to maximize the five selections the Browns have in the first two rounds.”

While the Browns will not likely be contending for the North in 2018, they can still have a better season which shouldn’t be hard considering they failed to win a single game last year. This will most likely be a transition year with the hopes of competing in 2019 according to Thomas.

“A contender? That is a stretch given that on a good year the Browns might go 2-4 in the AFC North Division. It may be fairer to say the Browns are now more competitive than they have been the past two years. Even last year there were games that the team could have won with a little better quarterback play or a break at the right time, or if the head coach was not actively undermining the previous front office. With the additions they have made, plus the ones coming in the draft, this should be a fun season with the transition to contender status coming in 2019.”

Next: Around the North: Baltimore Ravens

While the Browns spend most of their time being the laughing stock of the league, John Dorsey could be a huge piece in turning the team around. Outside of his bad contracts with the Kansas City Chiefs, Dorsey played a big role in revamping that team through the draft. He has a good eye for talent and can find gems that are left behind during preseason cuts. Will the Browns turn things around starting with this year’s offseason? Only time will tell but it should be an interesting team to watch over the next couple of seasons.