Remember when it was fashionable to predict the Cleveland Browns would make a playoff run?
That was just last season when opinions and projections had fans betting on a Super Bowl appearance.
The Browns are getting no such love this time around.
The NFL released its first win/loss projection for 2020
Ravens – 10.9 wins
Steelers – 9.4 wins
Browns – 8.3 wins
Bengals – 5.2 wins
— Christian ✞ (@412champs) May 9, 2020
Despite an upbeat tone around Berea and generally good grades in free agency and the draft, Kevin Stefanski won´t face the expectations of 2020.
Vegas betting lines project anywhere from 8 to 9 wins for the new vision-aligned Browns.
And that puts them just out of the playoffs according to most 2021 mock draft boards.
Come April, Andrew Berry might appreciate that.
When the 2021 picks are called out in front of the Browns faithful, Berry wants to make a splash.
That´s a lot easier when your team picks in the front half.
But the Browns have some things going for them that could mean a later draft pick is in their near future.
So We´re Saying the Browns Have a Chance?
There are a handful of reputable mock draft boards pushing the Browns into the wild card round.
WalterFootball.com puts the Browns in 19th position, a wildcard loser.
That is exactly where CBS´ 24/7Sports.com and NFL.com´s Mike Clay have them.
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) May 4, 2020
But making the playoffs puts the Browns in position to surprise some folks.
While Kevin Stefanski´s 2020 playoff offense might not inspire confidence,
The fact is Cleveland has the tools to throw surprises into an offensive game plan.
Barring injuries, the defense should improve, and a strong defense can propel any team to victory.
Winning a wild card game drops the Browns into the 25-28 range of picks.
Dare we dream of falling to 29-30 with a conference championship appearance?
And how much slack would Berry get if he was left with the final pick of the first round?
But That´s Not the Consensus
Most prognosticators don´t see that happening.
The vast majority are sticking to the most popular Vegas win projections.
That lands Cleveland the 15-16th selection for most analysts.
— FOX Sports Cleveland (@FOXSportsCLE) July 28, 2019
Drafttek.com thought outside the box and pushed the Browns up in the order.
While complimenting the Browns´ new management team, they still gave Cleveland a top-ten pick.
But that was nothing compared with DraftBlaster.com.
They believe another dud is on tap for the 2020 Browns, to the tune of the 6th worst record in football.
Better known entities like NBCSports, NFLSpinZone, YahooSports, and The Draft Network played it safe.
That´s why the NFLMockDraftDatabase.com, culling data from 21 sites so far, pegs the Browns pick at number 15.
What Will That Look Like For the Browns?
Cleveland hosts the 2021 NFL Draft from April 29-May 1.
FirstEnergy Stadium and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will provide the main venues.
— Crain's Cleveland (@CrainsCleveland) April 28, 2020
Cleveland owns 10 draft picks, including their own spots through the first 6 rounds.
Andrew Berry dealt a 7th-rounder to Denver for fullback Andy Janovich.
But he picked up an extra 3rd-round pick from New Orleans in a 2020 draft position shuffle.
Buffalo threw a 7th rounder into John Dorsey´s Wyatt Teller trade.
Dorsey also landed the Rams 5th round pick (Corbett) and a 4th rounder from Philadelphia (Genard Avery).
NFL Mock Draft Database found six sites put Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses in a Browns uniform.
No other player was mentioned more than once by the 21 draft prognosticators.