Browns could start Myles Garrett, two other first-round picks

With free agency and the draft in the rear-view mirror, and organized team activities and minicamps in full swing, here’s a starting lineup projection for the Cleveland Browns:


QB: Cody Kessler: This spot really is wide open at this point between Kessler, Brock Osweiler and rookie DeShone Kizer; the winner emerges in preseason.

RB: Isaiah Crowell: Crowell was a success story in 2016, averaging just shy of 5 yards per carry.

FB: Dan Vitale: Vitale is the only fullback on the roster, which makes him the best one. If the Browns go with two tight ends, Seth DeValve starts here.

LT: Joe Thomas: The future Hall of Famer continues to be dominant as he reaches his early 30s.

LG: Joel Bitonio: Assuming he's fully recovered from Lisfranc surgery, that is.

C: JC Tretter: The Browns didn't sign a free agent at this position not to start.

RG: Kevin Zeitler: The mauler from Wisconsin leaves the Bengals for big money to start for the Browns.

RT: Shon Coleman: This is a guess at this point; there will be competition with Cameron Erving, Coleman, Matt McCants and perhaps Spencer Drango.

TE: David Njoku: The Browns cleared a lineup spot for their first-round pick by releasing Gary Barnidge.

WR: Kenny Britt: He's the best player at the weakest position group.

WR: Corey Coleman: Coach Hue Jackson had an offseason message for the young receiver: It's time to step up.


DE: Emmanuel Ogbah: The best of last year's rookie class should be better in his second season.

DT: Danny Shelton: He made significant improvement from Year 1 to Year 2, and now he plays in Gregg Williams' scheme.

DT: Jamie Meder: The Pierogi Prince of Parma may fit better in a 4-3 alignment, though the draft will provide competition at this spot as well.

DE: Myles Garrett: Garrett is everything a team wants in a person; now if he can just be that on the field.

LB: Jamie Collins: His offseason signing was the first domino in a productive few months.

MLB: Demario Davis: This projection is based on the assumption the Browns slide Chris Kirksey outside in the 4-3 alignment.

LB: Chris Kirksey: Kirksey will start, whether it's the middle or outside; he played very well in 2016.

CB: Joe Haden: Injuries have derailed his past two seasons. He still has ability, but he needs to stay on the field and show it.

FS: Ed Reynolds II: The Browns liked his smarts a year ago, though there will be competition at this spot.

SS: Jabrill Peppers: He's more of a tackler, as his one interception at Michigan shows. Look for him to be Williams' project for personal improvement.

CB: Jamar Taylor: He turned into a nice addition after draft-day trade a year ago.


K: Zane Gonzalez: Cody Parkey produced well last season, but it's tough to see the Browns not going with the guy they drafted.

P: Britton Colquitt: There's zero issue with the way he punted in 2016; the Browns quickly signed him to an extension.

KR: Mario Alford: Alford's the guy, though this job easily could go to Peppers.

PR: Peppers: The Browns will get their money's worth from this rookie.