The 2020 NFL Draft is less than four weeks away. And for the Cleveland Browns, they go in hoping to continue what has been a strong offseason for the franchise.
There was a buzz around Cleveland, Ohio, heading into the 2019 season. The Browns had put the league on notice in a hurry when the team traded for then New York Giants’ wide receiver, Odell Beckham, last offseason.
The trade was just one of numerous moves Cleveland had made to try and reinforce their offense. They also added former Georgia running back Nick Chubb in round 2 of the 2019 NFL Draft.
With a revamped offense and a young up-and-coming quarterback under center, the Browns were becoming early favorites by many experts to win the AFC North divisional title. But come the start of the season, those assumptions quickly began to fade.
Offensive production became a glaring issue for Cleveland right away. Second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield was looking to build off a strong rookie campaign but struggled for much of the season to connect with his wide receivers downfield.
This, in turn, led to an offense that had difficulties finding the end zone as the games went along. By season’s end, Mayfield had appeared to have lost all his confidence, and a promising season turned into a 6-10 finish.
In addition to a lack of production on offense, Jake Trotter, who is an NFL Nation reporter covering the Browns, said some of Cleveland’s issues throughout the season may have had to do with the man at the top.
Making Moves in Free Agency
Similar to last off season, the Browns have once again been busy during this year’s free agency period. Cleveland has addressed needs on both sides of the ball, including offensively with two well-known names around the league.
The first is former Washington Redskins quarterback, Case Keenum. Keenum signed a three-year deal with the Browns and will be the back up behind Mayfield, according to the Cleveland Browns’ website. Furthermore, Cleveland also signed former Atlanta Falcons’ tight end Austin Hooper to a four-year deal, giving the team some much-needed help at the position.
By adding Keenum, Trotter believes the Browns now have someone who can help Mayfield improve his overall game.
Defensively, the Browns have also dipped into free agency to add depth on this side of the ball as well. Cleveland added another former Falcons’ player to its roster in defensive end Adrian Clayborn. The deal is two years and worth $6 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Looking Ahead at the Draft
The Browns have added a handful of talent during the free agency period so far. But with the draft looming, they will still be looking to add talent in certain spots.
There are multiple reports saying what positions Cleveland needs to focus on heading into the draft. Some say the offensive line is a must need, while others say the team should look at signing a linebacker.
Trotter said he thinks the Browns will use one of their picks to help boost the O-line.
Come the end of the month, it will be interesting to see what direction Cleveland decides to go in with an already improved roster from free agency. It’s what makes the draft that much more intriguing.