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- MLB 2023 Season Preview – AL Central - March 29, 2023
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The Cleveland Browns shocked the NFL world by trading for New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and building potentially one of the NFL’s most scariest offenses.
The prized wide receiver was coveted by Cleveland ever since a training picture last year featured Beckham Jr., quarterback Baker Mayfield and wide receiver Jarvis Landry together. The trade didn’t come cheap as it cost the 17th overall pick in the 2019 draft, the Browns second third-round pick (95th overall) and safety Jabrill Peppers.
So now what does this mean?
Let’s start with a pending free agent. This trade most likely means that restricted free agent wide receiver Rashard Higgins is gone, barring a weird cut. In his place, will come a fifth-round compensatory pick. While Higgins was one of Mayfield’s go-to players, the turn-around is just too good to pass up.
For the Brown’s offense, this move gives them a talent to replace the often suspended Josh Gordon who was traded last year. One of the biggest things learned about Baker Mayfield, was he loves to spread the ball around to all available receivers.
With Beckham’s ability to separate from his defender, it can spell danger for opposing defenses. In addition, it also will open up the running game which was highly effective following the change of running back Nick Chubb to starter. When the passing game is on point, it forces the defense to dictate to the receivers, which allows the back to take advantage of the holes.
Now factor in the other two running backs (for now) Duke Johnson Jr. and Kareem Hunt and you have a highly explosive offense.
The big problem comes on defense. Peppers really stepped up last season and started to cement that first-round selection status. Though several rumors are swirling for another massive upgrade, the safety spot is now a liability.
Also, it’s been heavily speculated that the Browns was going to take a linebacker or defensive tackle with the No.17 pick but after filling one of those gaps with free agent defensive tackle, Sheldon Richardson, the linebacker spot could have to wait.
The move gives Cleveland a pre-ranked 13th best offense but a 30th best defense. Yet despite all this, oddsmakers give Cleveland a 7-1 chance at winning the AFC. Even crazier, after the trade, they have the fifth best odds at winning the Super Bowl.
Has the laughing stopped at Cleveland’s expense?