ESPN analyst Marcus Spears believes the Cleveland Browns have the AFC’s best roster on paper heading into training camp.
Spears compared the Browns to the Kansas City Chiefs during Monday’s edition of ESPN’s “NFL Live.”
“Myles Garrett is better than anybody on the team outside of Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelsey,” Spears said. “Look, I got [the Browns] as darkhorse Super Bowl contenders, and we’re talking about the Chiefs potentially going 20-0.
“On paper, right now in the NFL on the AFC side, the Cleveland Browns have the best roster,” Spears said. “Quote me.”
"On paper right now in the NFL on the AFC side, the Cleveland Browns have the best roster… QUOTE ME!"@mspears96 with some major praise for the Browns 😳 pic.twitter.com/HNOTLyrSR8
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) May 31, 2021
At +1600, oddsmakers give the Browns the seventh-best odds in the NFL and fourth-best odds in the AFC to win Super Bowl 56.
“I got the Chiefs as a favorite, but the best roster construction in the preseason belongs to the Cleveland Browns,” Spears said.
The Chiefs are listed as NFL favorites to win Super Bowl 56 at +450.
On Sept. 12, the Browns open the 2021 season on the road against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
On Monday, Spears mentioned several of the Browns’ offensive weapons, including wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. returning from injury; fellow receiver Jarvis Landry; the tight end position group; running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt; and what he called “arguably the best offensive line in the NFL.”
Spears also mentioned the defensive signings the Browns made in the offseason, including defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, safety John Johnson III and cornerback Troy Hill.
The free-agent signings of defensive end Takk McKinley and defensive tackle Malik Jackson are also expected to add depth.
Plus, Spears said safety Grant Delpit is expected to be back on the field after 2020’s season-ending Achilles tear.
Spears also said cornerback Denzel Ward performs at a high level when he’s healthy.
The Browns made several other defensive acquisitions, including the selections of Northwestern cornerback Greg Newsome II in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft and Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the second round.
In 2021, the Browns are also due to get cornerback Greedy Williams back after he missed all of last season with a shoulder injury.
Newsome and Williams are expected to compete for the starting cornerback position opposite Ward.
The Chiefs spent the offseason revamping their offensive line, which included a trade with the Baltimore Ravens for offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr.
In May, Spears said he believes the Chiefs will recoup after getting routed 31-9 by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55.
In the Super Bowl 55 loss, Patrick Mahomes ran a total of 497 yards before his passes and sacks.
It marked the most pre-throw and pre-sack yards run by a quarterback in any game last season.
The Chiefs knocked the Browns out of the playoffs last season by a final score of 22-17 on Jan. 19, 2021, in the AFC Divisional Round.
According to @NextGenStats, Patrick Mahomes ran a total of 497 yards before his passes/sacks in the #SuperBowl
That's the most pre-throw/pre-sack yards run by a QB in any game this season.
(h/t @ESPNStatsInfo) pic.twitter.com/E90SU5qtNA
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 8, 2021
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