The Cleveland Browns are coming off their most disappointing season since the team returned in 1999, but Cleveland’s roster is still stacked with talent. Three players made Pro Football Network’s list of the top 100 NFL players for 2020, so let’s take a look at who PFN views as the Cleveland Browns top players of 2020.
Analyzing the three Cleveland Browns on PFN’s Top 100
This writer was not personally involved in the voting process, so disagreements are only natural. The selection process is strong and nuanced, and it’s understandable that Browns’ players would perhaps be underrated after the season the team had.
98. Nick Chubb, running back
For a list that doesn’t adjust for positional value, Chubb seems far low. Even playing behind one of the worst run-blocking offensive lines in the NFL (which can be blamed for Chubb’s ineffectiveness in goal-line situations), Chubb excelled after contact and averaged 5.0 yards per carry. He finished second to only Derrick Henry in rushing yards, and should have the best season of his career in 2020 behind a revamped line.
Josh Jacobs (86), Mark Ingram (84), Alvin Kamara (54), Dalvin Cook (52), Ezekiel Elliott (40), Derrick Henry (23), and Christian McCaffery (6) are all ranked ahead of Chubb. It’s hard to believe that Chubb is only the eighth-best runner in the league, and there is a good argument to be made that he is the NFL’s best running back. The players ahead of him are all good, but Chubb seems awfully underrated here.
64. Odell Beckham Jr., wide reciever
If anything, Beckham seems high based on his performance in 2019. He wasn’t bad, but he was not his usual self, likely due to the groin injury that he played through when he should have had surgery. He underwent that procedure this offseason and should be back to normal in 2020.
But getting healthy is only half of the puzzle. Beckham’s freelancing is what makes him good, but quarterback Baker Mayfield relies on proper timing to play well. It never seemed like he and OBJ were every on the same page. In Week 1, Mayfield threw an ugly interception on a route that Beckham ran about five yards too deep. It was plays like these that forbid the offense from getting into a rhythm.
Beckham’s teammate, Jarvis Landry, had a better season by pretty much every metric and is missing from this list.
34. Myes Garrett, EDGE
This seems like a fair placement for Garrett. He is one of the league’s very best edge defenders, and totaled 10 sacks in 10 games, but was suspended for six games, allowing the players in front of him to advance.
Danielle Hunter (31), Von Miller (28), Nick Bosa (25), Cameron Jordan (21), Joey Bosa (13), T.J. Watt (12), Chandler Jones (11), Khalil Mack (9) are all elite players and deserve their placements fro the most part. A full 16 games of Garrett may very well make him a top-20 player, especially if he takes a step forward in 2020.
Missing Browns players on PFN’s Top 100
Jarvis Landry, wide reciever
Landry was better than Beckham. He’s certainly not as talented, and OBJ should be much better in 2020. But if we’re going off last season, Landry was the better player. An extra year of chemistry with Mayfield certainly helped with that, although Landry was not free from route running and decision-making mistakes either.
Joel Bitonio, left guard
Bitonio has made the last two Pro Bowls, but just like his former teammate Mitchell Schwartz, he goes underappreciated. Joe Thuney (99) and David DeCastro (73) made the list, and Bitonio should be considered on their level.
J.C. Tretter, center
Another severely underrated player, Tretter has never made the Pro Bowl, despite being completely deserving. Ryan Kelly (85) placed on the list, and Tretter is at the very least a comparable player, if not quite a bit better.
Denzel Ward, cornerback
Ward had a rough first two outings and missed four straight games, but after that, he was as lock-down as he was during his rookie year. He allowed one of the lowest completion percentages in the league and defended 11 passes, returning one interception 61 yards for a touchdown. With players like A.J. Bouye (71) and Marcus Peters (55) relatively high, it feels like Ward should be up there with them.
So there you have it. According to PFN, Chubb, Beckham, and Garrett are the Cleveland Browns’ top players for 2020. A better season should land more Browns on next year’s PFN Top 100. If that group includes Mayfield, things will likely have (finally) gone pretty well for Cleveland.