No. 1: Cleveland Browns
Wait, what? The Cleveland Browns will be good in 2018?
It’s not as shocking as you think.
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Year after year, the Browns have earned the moniker of being the NFL’s laughingstock. Perpetual losing and dysfunction have made this once-proud franchise a destination where NFL careers go to die. Especially quarterbacks.
Quarterback is intriguing this season, especially with the NFL Draft addition of DeShone Kizer. He may not be the long-term answer, but it’s too soon to make any judgments there. If he’s handled correctly by head coach Hue Jackson, there’s a good chance Cleveland finally has some consistency under center.
The Browns pulled off a tremendous draft haul — led off by grabbing EDGE Myles Garrett — and, like the 49ers, are armed with a great deal of cap space.
As Yahoo! Sports’ Frank Schwab noted earlier this week on Sacramento’s KHTK 1140, the Browns actually have a understandable direction that makes sense.
Key to all of this is patience. Jackson has surrounded himself with a solid coaching staff that is working to build this franchise for long-term success. 2017 won’t reveal much of those efforts, but the pieces should be in place for some major strides the following season.
And the perennially lowly Browns could actually turn some heads come 2018.
What a weird thought.