Despite all the controversies, the Cleveland Browns are still set up to have a solid season in 2022-23.
The Cleveland Browns have been the subject of conversation for most of the 2022 National Football League offseason. No matter the issue, if it’s the Deshaun Watson issue or the Baker Mayfield situation the spotlight has been on the Cleveland Browns for several months now. With only a short time until the start of training camp for the 2022 season, one of those issues has since been resolved as Baker Mayfield was traded to the Carolina Panthers last week for a 2024 draft pick. Now we are closing in on the end of the Deshaun Watson situation and a decision on whether he will or will not be suspended could be right around the corner as well.
Cleveland Browns Offense
At the end of the day, there is still a lot of potential for the Cleveland Browns to be successful during the 2022-23 National Football League season. They have a stacked roster that features two of the top ten Running Backs in the entire National Football League. As well as a future star in 2022 draft pick Jerome Ford out of the University Of Cincinnati. Ford was drafted in the fifth round at pick number 156 which many fans consider an absolute steal. He is often compared to Kareem Hunt, and if he plays anything like Hunt he is going to be special.
They have a decent Quarterback with starting experience in Jacoby Brissett if Deshaun Watson does end up missing the entire season. Their new addition at Wide Receiver Amari Cooper should pair well alongside Donovan Peoples-Jones and new draft pick David Bell. He was drafted out of the University Of Purdue in the third round with the 99th overall pick and is positioned to breakout in his rookie season. David Njoku also returns at the Tight End position with a brand new contract and tons of expectations to perform. With Austin Hooper now gone, Njoku should shoulder the majority of the load for the Cleveland Browns.
The Offensive Line should return fully healthy and ready to go. As the starting five should look like Jedrick Wills at the Left Tackle spot, while Joel Bitonio will slot in at Left Guard. Nick Harris is on track to be the starting Center, while on the right side of the line you’ll see Wyatt Teller at Right Guard and Jack Conklin at Right Tackle. James Hudson and Chris Hubbard will likely play backup at the tackle position, while Michael Dunn and Blake Hance will do the same at guard and Ethan Pocic will be the backup Center for the Cleveland Browns.
Cleveland Browns Defense
The defense for the Cleveland Browns is expected to be one of the best units in the league if they can stay healthy. The line will be anchored by Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney on the edges. Jordan Elliott and Taven Bryant will play inside with Tommy Togiai and Perrion Winfrey getting good rotation minutes as backups. A ton of Cleveland Browns fans are excited about the 2022 draft pick, and the former Oklahoma Sooners player Perrion Winfrey. The Cleveland Browns got an absolute steal when they got Winfrey as he was drafted in the fourth round with the 108th overall pick.
The former collegiate Butkus Award and 2020 Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player Of The Year winner Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah will be the star at weakside Linebacker. Anthony Walker is likely going to start at Middle Linebacker while Sione Takitaki will start at the strongside Linebacker spot. The Defensive Back group is going to be solid as Denzel Ward returns alongside Greg Newsome as the two starting Cornerbacks.
Second round draft pick Martin Emerson out of Mississippi State will likely see time as a backup Cornerback this season. While John Johnson and Grant Delpit will be the starters at Full Safety and Strong Safety respectively. As for the second stringers Richard LeCounte and Ronnie Harrison will likely serve as backups. Fourth-round draft pick Cade York will be the starting kick this season and he will be counted on big time. As the Cleveland Browns have had major trouble at the Kicker spot for years at this point. Corey Bojorquez will serve as the Punter while Jakeem Grant will return punts and kicks.
Schedule and Expectations
The Cleveland Browns play a mixed schedule as they have a pretty weak start to the year as they open up with the Carolina Panthers and old friend Baker Mayfield on the road. In week two, they return home to face Zach Wilson and the New York J-E-T-S Jets. Week three is the big one, as they play their division rivals the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night. In week four they face off with the Atlanta Falcons, before meeting their first true test with the Los Angeles Chargers and New England in back to back weeks.
Then they have two divisional matchups back to back as they make the trip to Baltimore and then come home to play the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night in week eight. Following the Monday night showdown with Cincinnati, the Cleveland Browns have a bye week. Fresh off of the Bye they play two straight road games in Miami and Buffalo, as the Bills game may be their toughest test all season. After the Bills game, they will host Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Then the Cleveland Browns will go on the road to Houston in what could be a return game for Deshaun Watson.
After that, they will stay on the road to play the Cincinnati Bengals before coming home to round out their divisional games with the Baltimore Ravens as well. Then they will play the New Orleans Saints at home for the final time this season. After that the Cleveland Browns will make the trip to the nation’s capital to play the Commanders, then head to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers in what could be a high stakes divisional matchup before wild card weekend.
The 2022 campaign could be a special one for the Cleveland Browns but it all depends on how the outside factors surrounding the team turn out for them. If Deshaun Watson is suspended for an entire season I expect them to still have a winning season but the Cleveland Browns will only win around nine games without him in my opinion. If Watson does get to play the full year then this team has a real shot to compete for the top spot in the AFC and get the bye week heading into the playoffs.
If Deshaun Watson gets a suspension somewhere in the middle ground of four to eight games then this team is still a playoff team in my opinion. although with a lower seed and a tougher road in the postseason. The Cleveland Browns have a high ceiling this year and if their full potential is reached then this is a dangerous team to look out for. As for individual awards, Nick Chubb has a serious shot at winning the rushing title, while Denzel Ward could easily end up being the best corner in the National Football League by season’s end.