Hope is high for what the Cleveland Browns can do in the 2014 NFL season. Here are some bold predictions to ponder.
Terrance West starts over Ben Tate on offense
Ben Tate left the Houston Texans and signed with Cleveland in the free agency because he wanted a chance to become a starting running back in the NFL. He still has that chance with training camp and the preseason on the way. However, the Browns made sure it won’t be a cakewalk when they drafted small school star Terrance West. He elevated Towson to notoriety as their workhorse back and displayed the versatile skill set to be a three-down player in the pros. The thing about running backs is they can play right away as rookies and have success. No one should pencil in Tate as the starter yet, not if West cracks some big plays in the preseason.
Mike Pettine builds top five defense around Joe Haden and Justin Gilbert
Joe Haden was swiftly locked up by the Cleveland Browns to a new contract and it was clear their top priority in the draft was getting him a wing man in the secondary. That is why they took Justin Gilbert out of Oklahoma State. The highly athletic corner has shutdown capability. New head coach Mike Pettine is a defensive guy and has done his best work when his secondary is solid. Featuring two corners who can play tight press coverage will allow Pettine to get creative up front and cause some serious problems for opposing offenses. If Barkevious Mingo progresses and veterans like Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner produce, the Browns will field a top five defense in 2014.
Johnny Manziel scores more touchdowns running than throwing
Naturally the Cleveland Browns organization and fan base will be under the microscope after drafting Johnny Manziel. The question at hand is not if he’ll play but how long before he does. With all due respect to Brian Hoyer, he’s not going to hold off Manziel for long but like any rookie quarterback Johnny is going to have his ups and downs. Hampering the entire situation is Browns passing attack. Their star receiver Josh Gordon is facing a suspension and the team has scrambled to prepare for the loss by signing castoffs like Earl Bennett and Miles Austin. That isn’t the most inspiring group, which could lead to some struggles for Manziel, so much to the point that he actually ends the season with more rushing touchdowns than passing touchdowns.