Breaking Down the Offense for 2023-24
The Browns' roster is arguably as talented as it has ever been since the franchise returned to Cleveland in 1999 — with Pro Bowlers and young stars scattered throughout the roster, the Browns entered the 2023 season with a group capable of building a deep playoff run.
The offense is led by QB Deshaun Watson, who was rusty when he returned for six games from an 11-game suspension in 2022 but could turn the Browns into a serious AFC threat if he re-discovers the Pro Bowl level he played at with the Texans. Watson is surrounded by top-level talent, too, in RB Jerome Ford, WRs Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore and TE David Njoku, as well as a strong offensive line.
On the defensive side of the ball, All-Pro edge rusher Myles Garrett captains a defensive line that features two prominent additions in Pro Bowl DE Za'Darius Smith and DT Dalvin Tomlinson. Two-time Pro Bowl CB Denzel Ward leads the Browns' young secondary corps.
Below, we break down the depth chart for each position on offense. Players labeled with a ⭐ are the starters.
Browns QB Depth Chart
Who Is QB for the Cleveland Browns?
Watson is entering his first full season with the Browns after the team traded three first-round picks and other draft capital in the 2022 offseason to acquire him from the Texans. Watson owns the sixth-highest completion percentage (66.8) in NFL history among passers with more than 1,500 attempts, but he struggled in his first six games with the Browns in 2022 and completed a career-low 55.2 percent of his throws. Watson completed 16 of 29 pass attempts for 154 yards with one touchdown and one interception — as well as one rushing touchdown — in the Browns' Week 1 win against the Bengals.
Who Is the Browns' Backup QB?
Thompson-Robinson is a 2023 fifth-round pick. He started at UCLA from 2019-2022 and set school records with 10,710 career passing yards and 88 passing touchdowns.
Browns RB Depth Chart
Who Is the Starting RB for the Browns?
Chubb was the starting running back before sustaining a rough knee injury in Week 2. With Chubb out of the mix, Ford was named the starter while Hunt will take over backup duties. Strong, a 2022 fourth-round pick by the Patriots who was traded to the Browns in August, rushed 10 times for 100 yards with New England last season.
Browns WR Depth Chart
Which WRs Start for Cleveland?
Cooper led the Browns with 78 receptions, 1,160 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns in his first season with the team in 2022. He was one of just five wide receivers with 1,100+ receiving yards and 9+ touchdowns last season (joining Davante Adams, A.J. Brown, Stefon Diggs and CeeDee Lamb). Peoples-Jones was second on the Browns with 61 receptions and 839 receiving yards in 2022.
Cleveland traded for Moore, a 2022 second-round pick, from the Jets in March, and he will likely be a key part of the offense and could be one of the most versatile weapons, as evidenced by him taking two carries for 19 yards in addition to catching three passes for a team-leading 43 yards in the Browns' Week 1 win.
The Browns have used a third-round pick on a wide receiver in each of the last three drafts: Cedric Tillman in 2023, David Bell in 2022 and Anthony Schwartz in 2021. Cleveland also signed Goodwin in free agency this offseason; Goodwin had 387 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns with the Seahawks in 2022.
Browns TE Depth Chart
Who Starts at TE for Cleveland?
Njoku is entering his seventh season with the Browns after being drafted in the first round by Cleveland in 2017. Njoku recorded a career-high 58 receptions for 628 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns in 2022.
The Browns signed Akins in free agency this offseason. Akins had a career-high 495 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 2022 and played with Watson from 2018-2020 with the Texans. Bryant is entering his fourth season with the Browns; Bryant was a fourth-round pick in 2020 but has yet to record 300+ yards in a season.
Bryant was the lone Browns tight end to catch a touchdown pass in the Browns' Week 1 win against the Bengals.
Browns O-Line Depth Chart
The Browns are entering the 2023 season with the same five offensive line starters as they had in 2022. Cleveland's offensive line earned a 77.4 PFF overall grade in 2022, which was tied with the Baltimore Ravens for 10th best among all teams.
Bitonio received the second-highest PFF offensive grade (87.5) among all guards in 2022. Also, Pocic earned the third-highest PFF offensive grade (78.9) among all centers last season. Wills Jr. had the worst PFF offensive grade (62.9) among the Browns' OL starters in 2022.
Conklin will likely miss the remainder of the 2023 season due to a knee injury. Jones, a 2023 fourth-round pick out of Ohio State, replaced Conklin at right tackle after he exited in Week 1 and is likely next in line to replace him.
Breaking Down the Defense for 2023-24
On the defensive side of the ball, All-Pro edge rusher Myles Garrett captains the defensive line, while two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward leads the Browns' young secondary corps. Below, we break down the depth chart for each position on defense.
Browns D-Line Depth Chart
The Browns' defensive line is one of their strongest units entering the 2023 season. It's led by Garrett, an All-Pro talent who is the only player in the NFL that has had double-digit sacks in each of the last five seasons.
Cleveland traded for Smith from the Vikings this offseason. Smith has averaged the seventh-most sacks per game played (.73) among all defenders since 2019. In efforts to bolster their struggling run defense, the Browns added Tomlinson in free agency, selected Ika in the third round of the draft and signed Harris, a 10th-year veteran, during training camp.
Browns LB Depth Chart
After suffering a myriad of injuries at linebacker last season, the Browns chose to keep the same linebacker starters from a year ago and believe better seasons will come from all of their top three starters. Owusu-Koramoah, a 2021 second-round pick, Walker, a seventh-year veteran and most experienced player of the group and Takitaki, a 2019 third-round pick, are all tasked with leading the group.
Browns CB Depth Chart
Ward is the highest paid cornerback in the NFL in terms of total value after receiving a five-year, $100.5 million extension last offseason. Ward is the only player in the NFL with multiple interceptions and 10+ passes defensed in each of the last five seasons. Look out for some Ohio sportsbook promos to use on props for Ward.
The Browns selected Newsome in the first round (26th overall) in the 2021 NFL draft and offers great versatility to the Browns' defense; Newsome and Jalen Ramsey were the only players to play at least 200 snaps at left CB, right CB, and slot CB last season (per Next Gen Stats). Cleveland drafted Emerson Jr. in the third round in 2022 and benefitted from a strong rookie season — he started just six games as a rookie but he recorded an impressive 15 passes defensed in 2022, which ranked third most among rookies behind only Defensive Rookie of the Year Sauce Gardner and Seahawks CB Tariq Woolen.
Browns Safety Depth Chart
Delpit started 16 of 17 games for the Browns at safety last season and led the team with 101 total tackles and four interceptions. Delpit was one of three safeties with 100+ tackles and 4+ interceptions in 2021, joining Titans' Kelvin Byard and Texans' Jalen Pitre).
The Browns signed Thornhill this offseason to shore up the safety position and add Super Bowl experience — he has two Super Bowl rings from his first four seasons with the Chiefs. Thornhill was a second-round pick by the Chiefs in 2019 and started 52 games for them from 2019-2022.
Cleveland also signed McLeod for safety depth. McLeod is an experienced veteran with 11 seasons of NFL experience; he started 15 games for the Colts in 2022. He also has experience playing with new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who coached McLeod with the Eagles from 2016-2020.
Breaking Down the Special Teams for 2023-24
Below, we breakdown the starters on Special Teams for the Browns:
Browns Special Teams Depth Chart
Who Is the Browns' Kicker?
The Browns acquired Dustin Hopkins in a trade with the Chargers at the end of the preseason after Cade York, their 2022 fourth-round pick, struggled mightily in the preseason and was released. Hopkins has been in the NFL since 2015 and has converted on 85% of his field-goal attempts. He went 3-for-3 on field goals in his Browns debut in Week 1.
Who Is the Browns' Punter?
Bojorquez is entering his sixth season in the NFL and second season with the Browns. Bojorquez averaged 41 net yards per punt in his first year with Cleveland, which ranked 20th among 28 punters with 50+ attempts in 2022. Hughlett has been the Browns' long snapper since 2015.
Who Are the Browns' Returners?
Ford and Peoples-Jones were inserted at return duties following a season-ending injury to Pro Bowl returner Jakeem Grant, who suffered a season-ending injury for the second straight year before the season began.
Breaking Down the Coaches & Front Office
Below, we breakdown the coaches and front office for the Browns:
Cleveland Browns Coaching Staff for 2023-24
Who Is the Browns' Head Coach?
Kevin Stefanski is the Browns' head coach after entering his fourth season with the team. Through his first three seasons as head coach, Cleveland has a 26-24 record and has made the playoffs once. Stefanski won 2020 AP NFL Coach of the Year after leading the Browns to a 11-5 record and to their first playoff appearance since 2002.
Who Is the Browns' Offensive Coordinator?
Alex Van Pelt is the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns. Van Pelt is entering his fourth season as the offensive coordinator for the Browns. Cleveland's offense has averaged 21.2 points per game under Van Pelt since 2020, which ranks 20th among NFL teams during that span.
Who Is the Browns' Defensive Coordinator?
Jim Schwartz is the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns. Schwartz is entering his first season with Cleveland. Schwartz was last a senior defensive assistant with the Titans from 2021-2022. Prior to that, he was the Philadelphia Eagles' defensive coordinator from 2016-2020. The Eagles won Super Bowl LII in the 2017 season with Schwartz as DC.
Who Is the Browns' GM?
Andrew Berry has been the general manager of the Browns since 2020. Since entering the role of Browns GM, Berry as made many notable trades. Here's a list of the some of his notable trades:
- Traded for QB Deshaun Watson in March 2022: He gave six draft picks, including their first-round picks in 2022, 2023, 2024 to the Texans for Watson.
- Traded for WR Amari Cooper in March 2022: He gave a 2022 fifth-round pick and swapped sixth-round picks with Cowboys for Cooper.
- Traded away former #1 overall pick QB Baker Mayfield in July 2022: Cleveland traded Mayfield to the Panthers for a 2024 conditional draft pick.
- Traded for WR Elijah Moore in March 2023: They sent their 2023 second-rounder to the Jets for Moore and a 2023 third-round pick.
- Traded for DE Za'Darius Smith in May 2023: They swapped late-round draft picks in 2024 & 2025 with the Vikings for Smith.
Berry also gave Watson the largest fully guaranteed contract in NFL history in March 2022 (5-year, $230 million).
Browns Depth Chart FAQ
Deshaun Watson. The Browns traded for Watson in March 2022. He started just six games for Cleveland in 2022 due to an 11-game suspension to start the season. Watson was the starting QB for the Houston Texans from 2017-2020 (he did not play in 2021).
Rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson won backup QB duties after a stellar preseason. The UCLA product offers a mobile aspect to his game that fits the Browns' playbook designed for Watson.
Kevin Stefanski has been the Browns' head coach since 2020. Stefanski won 2020 AP NFL Coach of the Year in his first season as head coach. Cleveland has a 27-24 record over their first four seasons under Stefanski.
QB Deshaun Watson, RB Nick Chubb, WR Amari Cooper, DE Myles Garrett and CB Denzel Ward are expected to be the Browns' best players entering the 2023 season.
Hall of Famers RB Jim Brown, TE Ozzie Newsome, QB Otto Graham, OT Joe Thomas, WR Paul Warfield, RB Leroy Kelly, and kicker Lou Groza are a handful of the Cleveland Browns' best players of all time.
Michelle Magdziuk is an editorial researcher and fantasy writer for the NFL Network. She also is a co-host for the BallBlast Fantasy Football Podcast and the Gold Diggers Podcast on the 49ers Gold Standard Network. Her wide-ranging NFL knowledge and background in fantasy football will give OH bettors the best information possible this season.