Cleveland Browns' Roster Receives Interesting Ranking For 2024

The Cleveland Browns have a talented roster, but there is no question the team has plenty of question marks heading into 2024.
Browns quarterback Jameis Winston (5) celebrates a pass with Deshaun Watson (4) during minicamp, Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in Berea.
Browns quarterback Jameis Winston (5) celebrates a pass with Deshaun Watson (4) during minicamp, Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in Berea. / Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cleveland Browns are entering the 2024 NFL campaign with high expectations, especially after winning 11 games in the face of extreme adversity last season.

Due to an injury to Deshaun Watson and some uninspiring contributions from their backup quarterbacks, the Browns were forced to shuffle through five starting signal-callers in 2023. They ultimately settled on Joe Flacco, who went 4-1 to close out the regular season and led Cleveland to the playoffs.

The good news is that Watson—who underwent shoulder surgery late last fall—seems to be well on his way to returning in Week 1, and the hope is that he will be able to play his first full campaign since 2020.

With Watson on the mend and a No. 1-ranked defense backing him, the Browns appear to be a dangerous team going into this coming season, but ESPN still feels Cleveland is closer to the middle of the pack than actually contending.

In a piece where ESPN ranked all 32 rosters in the NFL, it had the Browns 12th.

While it may seem fairly low at first glance, it does make sense. One can make the argument that Cleveland should be a couple of spots higher, but you would be splitting hairs.

As the article states, the Browns' success is wildly dependent on Watson. If he is healthy and can somehow regain his previous form from his Houston Texans days, Cleveland can actually contend for a Super Bowl. If not, the Browns probably won't make much of a dent in the playoffs—if they get there.

Essentially, ESPN is choosing the happy medium. It's a safe projection.

It's important to keep in mind that Cleveland plays in the toughest division in football. The AFC North sent three clubs to the playoffs last season, and all four squads within the division finished with winning records. Even the Cincinnati Bengals, who played half the year without Joe Burrow, went 9-8.

The Browns will also be kicking 2024 off without Nick Chubb, leaving Cleveland's backfield in a state of flux. Jerome Ford and D'Onta Foreman will be fighting for carries, and Nyheim Hines is also in the mix. Not exactly Chubb-level talent.

While ESPN loves the Browns' fierce pass rush, it's Cleveland's questionable rushing attack and the uncertainty surrounding Watson that leaves the staff iffy on the Browns next season.

Matthew Schmidt