by Jackson Hongtong ’21
The Cleveland Browns had been the laughing stock of the NFL for many years as they had 10 years straight of losing seasons. They also filtered through 28 different quarterbacks from 1999 to 2018, as a result of no franchise quarterback to lead their team. Everything changed for the Browns during the 2018 offseason. The Browns began the offseason by trading for young star wideout Jarvis Landry from the Miami Dolphins. The team then traded for a consistent quarterback in Tyrod Taylor from the Buffalo Bills, and also signed ex-49er Carlos Hyde to solidify their run game. The Browns then received the first and fourth overall picks in the 2018 draft, using the first on Heisman-trophy winner quarterback Baker Mayfield out of Oklahoma. They then solidified a young defensive core and medicore secondary by drafting cornerback Denzel Ward of Ohio State.
In the 2018-19 season, the team started off the season with a tie to the Pittsburgh Steelers, breaking their previous losing streak after going 0-16 in the 2017-18 season. A couple weeks later, the Browns finally got their first win against New York Jets in a close contest, 21-17. Also this game was the start of the Baker Mayfield era in Cleveland. As the season progressed, the Browns won games and fired their head coach, Hue Jackson. Mayfield continued to play well, and eventually got the Browns to a solid record of 7-8-1. By the end of the season, Mayfield broke Peyton Manning’s rookie record for most passing touchdowns with 27.
Going into this offseason, the Browns knew they had to pull off a big deal or two to make a run at winning the AFC North division, and maybe a run at the postseason. The Browns did this by signing Kareem Hunt, the star running back for the Kansas City Chiefs, who was released after an assault charge. Hunt has potential to get on the field this season, but it’s still up in the air. Then the Browns made the biggest move of any team in the offseason, trading for star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The Browns gave up a first and a third round pick along with young safety Jabrill Peppers. However, pairing up the former LSU teammates, Beckham and Landry, two of the best receivers in the game, will be lethal for the opposing defenses. Mayfield is still progressing and improving after a stellar rookie campaign to compliment his young offensive core. Garrett and Ward on the opposite of the field are two young stars who are also only getting better. Now Mayfield will have a plethora of weapons on the field when Hunt returns, making this Browns team one of the scariest teams in the league for the upcoming season.