The Cleveland Browns struggled through a tumultuous 7-10 season in 2022 amid self-inflicted controversy after acquiring quarterback Deshaun Watson. Despite the team’s inability to make a return to the playoffs, a strong offseason has put them in a position to compete in a deep AFC North.
We have an all-encompassing Browns season preview now that the 2023 NFL Draft is over. Below, you’ll find the Browns’ projected depth chart, roster changes, and season predictions.
Everything You Need Ahead of the Cleveland Browns 2023 NFL Season
It’s not often a team has such clear positional weaknesses that the franchise has to go all-out to fix the problem.
MORE: FREE Mock Draft Simulator With Trades
The Browns entered the offseason needing a new defensive and special teams coordinator, plus reinforcements to the receiving corps and defensive tackle unit. Check out their impressive haul of additions below.
Browns Roster Changes
- Players Acquired
- DT Dalvin Tomlinson
- WR Elijah Moore
- WR Marquise Goodwin
- EDGE Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
- S Juan Thornhill
- QB Josh Dobbs
- DL Maurice Hurst
- Players Drafted
- WR Cedric Tillman
- DT Siaki Ika
- OT Dawand Jones
- EDGE Isaiah McGuire
- QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson
- CB Cameron Mitchell
- C Luke Wypler
- Players Lost
- QB Jacoby Brissett
- RB Kareem Hunt
- EDGE Jadeveon Clowney
- LB Deion Jones
- S Ronnie Harrison
- RB D’Ernest Johnson
- CB Greedy Williams
- DL Taven Bryan
Browns Coaching Staff in 2023
- Head coach: Kevin Stefanski
- Offensive Coordinator: Alex Van Pelt
- QB coach: Ashton Grant
- RB coach: Stump Mitchell
- OL coach: Bill Callahan
- WR coach: Chad O’Shea
- TE coach: T.C. McCartney
- Assistant WR coach: Callie Brownson
- Passing game coordinator: Kevin Patullo
- Offensive assistant: Jonathan DeCoster
- Senior offensive assistant: Bill Musgrave
- Defensive Coordinator: Jim Schwartz (replaced Joe Woods this offseason)
- DL coach: Ben Bloom
- LB coach: Jason Tarver
- CB coach: Brandon Lynch
- EDGE coach: Jeremiah Washburn
- Assistant DL coach: Jordan Thomas
- Assistant: Zach Dunn
- Safeties coach: Ephraim Banda
- Quality control: Jeff Anderson
- Special Teams Coordinator: Bubba Ventrone
- Assistant special teams coach: Stephen Bravo-Brown
Predicting the Browns Depth Chart
- QB: Deshaun Watson, Josh Dobbs, Dorian Thompson-Robinson
- RB: Nich Chubb, Jerome Ford, Hassan Hall
- WR: Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Elijah Moore, Cedric Tillman, Marquise Brown, David Bell
- TE: David Njoku, Harrison Bryant, Jordan Akins
- LT: Jedrick Wills Jr., James Hudson
- LG: Joel Bitonio, Michael Dunn
- C: Ethan Pocic, Nick Harris, Luke Wypler
- RG: Wyatt Teller, Drew Forbes
- RT: Jack Conklin, Dawand Jones
- DE: Myles Garrett, Ogbo Okoronkwo, Alex Wright, Isaiah McGuire
- DT: Dalvin Tomlinson, Siaki Ika, Jordan Elliott, Maurice Hurst, Perrion Winfrey
- MLB: Anthony Walker Jr., Sione Takitaki
- OLB: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Jacob Phillips, Tony Fields II, Mohamoud Diabate
- CB: Denzel Ward, Martin Emerson Jr., Greg Newsome II, Cameron Mitchell, A.J. Green
- S: Juan Thornhill, Grant Delpit, Bubba Bolden, D’Anthony Bell
- K: Cade York
- P: Corey Bojorquez
2022 Results and Standings
The Browns’ 2022 season was doomed before it began, even as Watson’s suspension was lowered from the initial season ban to 11 games. Though backup Jacoby Brissett filled in and did a fine job, the Browns’ defense couldn’t get stops until later in the year. By the end of Week 7, the Browns sat 2-5 with embarrassing losses to the Jets, Falcons, and Patriots.
Watson’s return in Week 13 was supposed to be a major development for the franchise after they traded a package of picks headlined by three first-rounders and handed him a fully-guaranteed $230 million deal. Instead of bringing fireworks to an offense boasting an elite running game, Watson failed to look anything like the guy who entered 2022 with the best career passer rating in NFL history.
MORE: Cleveland Browns 2023 Schedule
Some of that was on Watson being rusty. Head coach Kevin Stefanski also struggled to implement more spread offensive concepts after building the offense for Brissett. Of course, Cleveland’s own lack of talent in the receiving room stood out once the weather declined in December and January as well.
The culmination of issues led to a disappointing 3-3 end of the year for the Browns. Although the defense answered the bell with a better stretch of play at the end of the year, Cleveland’s offense was disjointed. Once again, the team finished last in the AFC North.
2023 Power Ranking and Season Outlook
PFN Analyst Dalton Miller has the Browns ranked 18th in his post-draft 2023 NFL Draft Power Rankings after a busy offseason that addressed many of the team’s big concerns from 2022. As Miller notes, the big question is around Watson and whether he can play at the level he needs for the franchise to be a Super Bowl contender. Everything else appears to be in place for a deep playoff run.
There’s more reason for optimism for the Browns entering 2023. With Watson back on the field and shaking off some of the rust that plagued him last year, there’s a sense of continuity and stability that the team lacked last year. Watson told reporters that “magical things” will happen this season after he hosted throwing sessions with teammates in Houston this offseason.
Although Stefanski didn’t overhaul his offensive staff as some wanted, he did get a massive talent boost on the field. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported that the Browns will feature more spread looks this season, utilizing the additions of speedy playmakers like Elijah Moore and Marquise Goodwin. Adding Cedric Tillman in the 2023 NFL Draft was also a shrewd move, as he was a dominant player in college before being hobbled by an ankle injury last year.
The Browns’ offense should be dynamic if Watson returns to anywhere near his Houston level. Don’t forget, he was a top-four quarterback before falling out with the Texans and not playing for 700 days. Alongside Nick Chubb, the Browns can easily produce a top-10 offense.
MORE: Ranking All 8 NFL Divisions Heading Into 2023
The defense should expect a big jump as well. Hiring defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz brings a more focused identity to a unit that was unpredictable under Woods. Schwartz will love having Myles Garrett, but the rest of the unit is what will determine this team’s upside.
Cleveland wisely invested in a stud defensive tackle in Dalvin Tomlinson, who I’d expect to be more of a pass rusher in Schwartz’s scheme than a nose. Tomlinson is able to fill either role but was paid like a pass rusher. There’s not a clear weakness on the defense after general manager Andrew Barry threw so many resources at tackle, re-signed Anthony Walker Jr., and reinforced the secondary.
The biggest risk for Cleveland is their lack of proven defensive depth and being able to weather tough competition. Another slow start from Watson could be disastrous for Stefanski’s future, in particular. But it’s also hard to deny that the Browns have everything needed to win Super Bowl 58 if everything goes right.
Leave a Reply