Everyone loves an underdog story and there is none better than the Cleveland Browns. It’s been 25 years since the Browns had a playoff win, 17 years since they have made a playoff appearance, and 12 years since they have had a winning record. Needless to say that being a Browns fan has lacked excitement. In 2016, the Browns went 1-15 then followed up the next season by going 0-16 and being arguably the worst team of all time.
For the first time in a long time, there’s success brewing in Cleveland, starting with the draft where the Browns saw a lot of their success began. In 2017, after going 0-15, the Browns made moves to acquire 2 additional first round draft picks along with their number 1 overall pick. With the first pick of the draft they drafted a generational talent in defensive end Myles Garrett whom is now one of the league’s top pass rushers. In addition to Garrett, they drafted arguably the most athletic player in the draft, Jabrill Peppers. A top tight end out of Miami, David Njoku, was also drafted in the first round. In the third round the Browns got a steal by drafting Larry Ogunjobi; a player that has proven himself as a solid player that’s been getting better by the year.
Despite drafting well in 2017, the Browns managed to do even worse in 2018 by being just the second team ever to finish a season 0-16. They also acquired an additional first round pick and additional second round pick through trading. With the first pick of the draft, they took a gamble on quarterback Baker Mayfield. Criticized for his lack of size and his actions on and off the field, the Heisman winner wasn’t expected to go first overall. Long story short, he proved everyone wrong. Starting only 13 games because starter Tyrod Taylor got a concussion week 2, he went on to throw for 3,725 yards, 27 touchdowns, and achieving 7 wins. With their second pick in the first round they drafted soon-to-be All-Pro corner back, Denzel Ward. Running back Nick Chubb became prevalent as a solid second round pick towards the end of the season when he became the starting running back after the trading of Carlos Hyde.
The off-season move that shook the NFL and all of its fans was the Browns’ trade for Odell Beckham Jr. The New York Giants agreed to trade Odell Beckham Jr. for the 17th pick and 95th picks of the 2019 draft and safety Jabrill Peppers. In the 2018 off-season, the Browns traded for star wide out, Jarvis Landry who stepped up and filled a leader role on the team. Odell and Jarvis go all the way back to high school. Both of them played for the same high school and excelled at LSU as well. Now with both of them together again, the sky is the limit for this offense. In the run game the Browns signed running back Kareem Hunt. The second year star had an insane rookie season and won offensive rookie of the year in the year before, but was released by the Kansas City Chiefs after a video revealing him battering a woman. Hunt will receive an 8 game suspension for his actions.
The firing of head coach Hue Jackson was the final straw to show the team is moving in an entirely new direction. For the first time in a long time, the Browns are favored to win their division. With the Steelers falling apart, the Browns now have the most talented roster in the division. In a city where there has been virtually no football success in the last 25 years, the city of Cleveland and even every other football team is excited to see the Browns perform this next season.