'Reasons for optimism' with Browns, say national media


INDIANAPOLIS – Just how much of a difference a new front office and a new coaching staff will mean to the Cleveland Browns' chances of success is certainly open to question.

From a national media perspective, the jury is still out.

Yes, the Browns will have approximately $40 million in salary cap space available and 10 overall draft picks. That includes two first-round selections that Cleveland can use to find immediate help.

Despite those positives, some are taking a wait-and-see stance.

"I think perception and reality are two different things," Fox Sports 1's Alex Marvez said. "I think that the perception of the Browns is of a group that are challenging the Miami Dolphins for incompetence across the league. But there's nothing to say that the combination of (coach) Mike Pettine and (general manager) Ray Farmer couldn't work. Ray Farmer could have been a general manager with another team. But instead, he opted to stay with the Cleveland Browns. And Mike Petitine? His enthusiasm is infectious. I can't guarantee that he's going to be a great head coach, but I think he will strike a chord with his players.

"I don't think there's a reason why the Browns can't succeed. But they need to stay the course and ignore the outside noise about this organization. Worry what's going on in their building. Winning games will change that perception."

There are reasons for optimism.

"The fact that the Browns have all those extra draft picks, and credit to (former general manager) Mike Lombardi for getting them and assembling these picks, will give (Cleveland) what they need to address the quarterback position in the draft," Marvez added.

"The fact that they have the salary cap space and they have the draft picks, make this a possibility they can get the job done."

ESPN's Adam Caplan agrees.

"They have great cap position, they have a lot draft picks. Yes, they have some needs. But it's actually not a bad situation if you're coming in as a new personnel and coaching staff. It's not the worse thing in the world," Caplan said.

"I think Ray Farmer is in a good position. The coaching staff under Mike Pettine will have a lot of draft picks to play with. A good amount of money for free agency. So this is a good thing. They're actually in a decent position here."

USA Today's Jarrett Bell, though, has seen this scenario before.

"There's no guarantee that this is going to work. You have an unproven general manager, an unproven coach and an unproven owner. You do have a proven fan base," Bell explained.

"The conditions are right. But the Oakland Raiders have had a bunch of high draft picks for a number of years. The Miami Dolphins had a ton of salary cap room last year. But to be in a position that they're in, to build (the franchise back up), then it's better to have the cap room. And the draft picks could be the biggest boon of all."

This Road to the Draft segment is driven by Liberty Ford.

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