Monday, May 23, 2022

Browns make small jump in USA Today’s NFL power rankings

The addition of Deshaun Watson and Amari Cooper could be a big boon for the Cleveland Browns offense. The team still has some big needs and a look at their 53-man roster creates some concerns as holes on the defensive line and depth at wide receiver, tight end and safety all could be problematic.

While the additions of Watson and Cooper will draw the headlines, Jakeem Grant, Chase Winovich and Taven Bryan should all be helpful pieces to the roster.

Releasing Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper and JC Tretter, along with trading Case Keenum, saved the team cap space but also minimized the team’s depth. Landry could return.

Jadeveon Clowney, the team’s biggest free agent, remains unsigned. His desire to cash in could keep him from returning. That won’t stop the team from trying to keep him.

With the uncertainty surrounding punishment for Watson and the team’s remaining roster needs, slotting them among the league’s best is difficult. USA Today’s newest power rankings have the Browns moving up four spots to #13:

13. Browns (17): Dropping QB Deshaun Watson into this roster – from a football perspective – should make this a Super Bowl-caliber group. It remains to be seen how Watson’s off-field luggage and the suspension he’s likely facing alter matters – and the locker room – in a division with little margin for error.

Not surprisingly, the AFC holds a majority of the top ten (7 teams). Ten of the top 13 are AFC teams. With only seven teams making the playoffs, some good teams are going to be left out in the cold.

In the AFC North, Cincinnati holds the second ranking as the Super Bowl runner-up with Baltimore (12) also ahead of Cleveland.

Clarity on Watson’s punishment, more free agent moves and the upcoming NFL draft should provide even more clarity for the Browns 2022 season hopes.

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