Over the last 15 months or so, the Cleveland Browns have gone from an NFL laughingstock to a team that has a very strong and competitive roster.
Their latest step toward what their fans hope will eventually be a Super Bowl championship came on Friday when they traded two fifth-round draft picks for defensive end Za’Darius Smith, a three-time Pro Bowler.
He will give Cleveland an impressive front seven that includes All-Pro pass rusher Myles Garrett and another new acquisition in defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson.
Perpetually frustrated Browns fans are happy and even excited about the addition of Smith.
Browns GM pic.twitter.com/Lod398ztVZ
— HOT TAKES ANA (free agency WE MOVE) (@FootballGirlAna) May 12, 2023
You know what, I like this move.. good on you Cleveland.
— Wesside Izzy P. 🇵🇷 (@IzzyPhantasmo) May 12, 2023
— Jack Walker Jr. (@indoorplayer_24) May 13, 2023
However, this fan feels the Browns are still doomed to have another mediocre season.
They do all this to still be 4th in the division as well as have the 3rd best pass rush😭
— Syllo (@syllloo) May 12, 2023
The team struggled mightily on defense last season, but that could very well change this fall and winter.
They will have a very strong defensive line, at least on paper, and even though their linebacking unit looks lackluster, they’re hoping for a breakout campaign from Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.
In the secondary, Denzel Ward will have a little bit of help in the form of newcomer Juan Thornhill, a safety from the Kansas City Chiefs who is thought to be headed on an upward trajectory.
Of course, Cleveland has a stacked offense with quarterback Deshaun Watson, wide receivers Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore, and Donovan Peoples-Jones, as well as arguably the NFL’s best running back in Nick Chubb.
The team may not finish first in the AFC North, as the Cincinnati Bengals are a monster on the midway, but they should have a great chance of returning to the playoffs.