Browns fans are eagerly awaiting the 2020 season because they fully believe this team has the talent to be special. They are not alone, as ESPN's NFL analyst Mike Clay is definitely a believer in what the Browns can do this year thanks to new head coach Kevin Stefanski and a very talented roster that has been assembled by EVP of Football Operations and General Manager Andrew Berry.
Clay, during a Wednesday appearance on Cleveland Browns Daily, called Stefanski a "terrific hire" and said the 2020 Browns are "in a position to make a leap this year … the personnel is there."
Clay is most excited about the Browns offense, which he said, "has the pieces to be the one of the best units in the NFL."
It should be no surprise to learn that Clay views the Browns offensive position groups in an elite light based on his positional rankings. Clay has four of the Browns five offensive position groups ranked in the top seven in the entire NFL, including tight ends (seventh), offensive line (sixth), wide receivers (fifth) and the running backs (first).
Check out photos of the team practicing on Wednesday
Clay noted that it was not that long ago that Hunt "was dominating the NFL" and Chubb's "rushing efficiency is outstanding, No. 1 in yards per carry, second in yards after contact, " adding to the growing belief he may in fact be the best "pure runner in the NFL."
At wide receiver, Clay said the Browns have a "terrific duo" in perennial pro bowlers Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. In 2019, Landry and Beckham became the first Browns receiver duo to top 1,000 yards in the same season in franchise history.
Clay was also bullish on the Browns tight ends group, which features free agent signing Austin Hooper and the returning former first-round pick David Njoku. In Hooper, Clay believes the Browns snared "an every-down player who is one of the better two-way tight ends in the NFL," and labeled his signing a "really exciting addition." With Stefanski's fondness for multiple tight end sets, Clay also believes Njoku "has a shot to play a big role" for the Browns this year. Clay said Njoku is "a potential breakout" who "can be a dominant target and has the athleticism to be a huge factor."
In order for the skill positions to reach to their potential, the guys up front need to do their jobs very well, and Clay loved the Browns offseason focus on improving the tackle position with the signing of Jack Conklin and drafting Jedrick Wills Jr. with the No. 10 pick. Clay said Conklin "is one of the best in the biz" at the right tackle spot and knows the pedigree that Wills brings to the table despite having to switch to the left side.
The only position on offense that did not rank in the top seven for Clay was quarterback, but he stressed that could change after the 2020 season. He is a big believer in Baker Mayfield.
Regarding Mayfield, Clay expects a big 2020, saying this year, "he can live up to that high-end pedigree. I was a big fan of him coming into the NFL. He has it in him…and Kevin Stefanski can help … so I am very excited to see that."
The only problem facing this offense, is "how do you dole out the touches," but as Clay astutely noted, that is "a good problem to have."
In addition to the focus on the Browns talent on offense, Clay discussed the potential on a Browns defense that "has stars at the key positions" and offered some Fantasy Football advice in a 20-plus minute interview on Cleveland Browns Daily.