On a national level, how a team’s roster or individual players are viewed stays mostly static unless major development or drop-off in the previous years. For the Cleveland Browns, the lack of success of the team has often minimized how individual players are viewed.
With the playoff run in 2020 and a close to .500 record to follow it up, some of that may be shifting a bit. The Browns are now known to have a very talented roster with the question at quarterback still concerning.
Pro Football Focus, which tries to cut through narrative and bias using their grading scales, put out their list of the top 50 players in the NFL. Three from Cleveland made the list:
- #12 – DE Myles Garrett
- #18 – OL Joel Bitonio
- #44 – RB Nick Chubb
Cincinnati and Pittsburgh each had two representatives on the list while Baltimore only had one, newcomer S Marcus Williams. Among AFC contenders, the Kansas City Chiefs, and Indianapolis Colts also had three players make the list.
Only the Los Angeles Chargers, with four, had more players make PFF’s top 50 list in the AFC.
While there is no honorable mention list, it would be interesting to see where Browns players like Denzel Ward, Wyatt Teller, Amari Cooper and John Johnson might have been if the list went to 100. Deshaun Watson has a chance to re-establish himself as a top-level player if he gets on the field in 2022 as well.
Cleveland’s roster is talented. Having three players make the top 50 list is proof of that. Now, can Watson and the rest lift the team to get to the top of the division and conference? In the end, that will be all that matters.