American Football

Early offseason Power Rankings show cautious love to Browns

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Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

NFL free agency is far from over but NFL Power Rankings are starting

As NFL free agency continues to slow to a snail’s pace, there are a variety of ways to break down the Cleveland Browns. Yesterday, before the team signed QB Josh Dobbs, we gave you a look at what the current 53-man roster could look like. A short time later, Dobbs was signed showing just how fickle some of this work can be.

The Browns free agent moves have been given positive regard by many including Pro Football Focus and Kevin Cole’s “Improvement Index.”

As fans will rightfully point out, none of the offseason accolades matter. While GM Andrew Berry hasn’t made huge splashy moves, he’s brought in solid players at positions of need. With a roster with top-end talents like Deshaun Watson, Myles Garrett, Nick Chubb, Amari Cooper, David Njoku, Denzel Ward and the offensive line, adding depth was important.

Monday Morning Quarterback put out their early NFL free agency Power Rankings and, despite ranking them 17th, really like what Cleveland has done:

As we predicted before free agency, the Browns went big-game hunting at the defensive line position as a favor to Myles Garrett. While I thought Sheldon Rankins would have been a nice, cost-controlled piece there, they went for a bigger swing: Dalvin Tomlinson. There’s little doubt the Browns are going to be a tough football team in 2023, assuming their offensive line and running backs can hold up. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo will break out in this scheme, and Juan Thornhill should help Band-Aid a secondary that needed more at the safety spot.

Looking at the AFC North, MMQB has the Cincinnati Bengals ranked third overall, the Baltimore Ravens at 16th and the Pittsburgh Steelers at 18th. A bunched-up group at the bottom with the Bengals clearly separated at the top.

MMQB also put out a winners and losers article from early NFL free agency with Garrett noted as a big winner given what the Browns have done around him:

The result was Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Maurice Hurst Jr., Trysten Hill and headliner Dalvin Tomlinson. This team will absolutely dominate both lines of scrimmage, and Okoronkwo should develop into more of a volume sacker now that he can play off the most dominant defensive lineman in the NFL.

The signing of Okoronkwo has been lauded in multiple places previously as well.

Berry hasn’t “won the offseason,” in some kind of big way. He’s made solid moves without mortgaging the future. Granted, he did that last offseason with the Watson acquisition. The offseason isn’t over yet either including the NFL draft.

For now, Cleveland is getting cautious love from media outlets but not the kind of hype that has sometimes accompanied the team. We are still over five months away from the team being able to prove anything on the field so, for now, we will have to take it for what it is on paper.

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