ESPN Power Rankings: Browns hold steady

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·2 min read
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The Cleveland Browns had a very good 2020 season and a very good 2021 offseason so far. The team made the playoffs, defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in their first playoff game, and barely lost to the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Then they added Takk McKinley, John Johnson III, Troy Hill, Malik Jackson, Anthony Walker, Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Newsome II, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, among others, to their defense while expected to get back Andrew Billings, Greedy Williams, and Grant Delpit as well. The offense has also added players but the biggest addition will be the return of Odell Beckham Jr.

Following free agency, and before the NFL draft, ESPN had moved the Browns up to the seventh spot. Following the NFL draft, the Browns stayed steady at seven with ESPN’s Jake Trotter noting how much the improvements around him should help Myles Garrett:

Too often last season, Garrett had to carry Cleveland’s defense. That became too much after he caught COVID-19 and labored with his breathing even after returning. Garrett will have a lot more help moving forward, thanks in part to the draft. With their first two picks, the Browns nabbed cornerback Greg Newsome II and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, players who weren’t expected to be available when Cleveland made its first-round pick at No. 26, much less fall to the second round, as Owusu-Koramoah did. Adding that kind of talent should make life easier on Garrett, both this season and long term.

Trotter is correct in his assertion that Garrett’s job should have gotten easier with the team’s offseason moves but Garrett’s presence should also help the new additions as well.

For now, the Browns are ranked behind Kansas City, Buffalo, and the Ravens (sixth) in the rankings. While all that will matter is what happens on the field, it is interesting to see how the Browns are seen nationally at this point. Once they prove even more on the field, notably defeating the Ravens at least once, respect will only go so far.

So far so good for Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski in their short time in Cleveland. National respect for the Browns is often hard to come by so a number seven ranking is impressive at this point.

Now the Browns have to back it up on the field.