It’s fair to say the Browns are already on the path to contention, so now it will be all about taking them to true contender status. Finishing 7-8-1 during the 2018 season is quite the accomplishment after winning one game in two full seasons, so now let’s take the next step with the Browns in Madden NFL 19.
So how do you make the Browns a contender in Madden 19? Well, if you decide to start at the end of the 2018 season and take into account roster updates, the Browns are an 80 overall. Baker Mayfield is an 83, and Nick Chubb is an 84. Now that’s a pretty good start if you ask me.
Upgrade The Offensive Line
While those might be very good strengths to start with, there are plenty of weaknesses on the roster that need to be addressed. The Browns offensive line in real life was a brick wall the second half of the season for Baker Mayfield, and a hole punch for Nick Chubb. However, in Madden the offensive line is not that great, and it does need a stalwart to anchor the line at left tackle. I would start there. When looking to free agency, I would try to find someone whose pass and run blocking would both be rated in the 80s, which should be an improvement from Greg Robinson and Desmond Harrison. Both those guys are decent enough, but we have to protect Baker Mayfield at all costs so no expenses should be spared.
If you can’t find a better left tackle through free agency, then it’s time to look at the draft. Let’s assume for the sake of this article you choose to use a randomly generated draft class. I would start spending scouting points on the top five or so left tackles on the board. But remember, the Browns need more than just a left tackle, so don’t pour all your points into that position.
Seek Out A Wide Receiver And Defensive Line Help
Next, I would either look at defensive linemen or receivers. You should add both, but you could look to add help to one position in free agency while targeting the other via the draft. That’s up to you and who is available.
Let’s assume you go the free agency route for wide receivers. Currently the Browns have one of the best slot receivers in the game in Jarvis Landry. Because the Browns lacked any real deep threats this past season, Landry had to play outside more than the ideal amount. This cut down on the 2017 NFL catch leader’s numbers this year, so it’s important to get him back to playing the slot position by bringing in a taller deep threat. While Antonio Callaway has a chance to be that guy, he is still very young and needs more time to develop. Maybe Antonio Brown will be available if the Steelers let him go and they update the free agent list before you start your franchise. Obviously if this happens, you should spare no expense to acquire such a dynamic player for Baker Mayfield to throw to every Sunday.
For defensive linemen, I think you need to look for depth more than dominant starters. With Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah anchoring the line at the ends, and Larry Ogunjobi looking to be a breakout player at the tackle position, you really only need a couple of guys to sub in and out to keep the line fresh. So how you acquire these players is really up to you.
Secure The Secondary
I feel the last part of the team you really need to shore up is the secondary. However, I don’t think the current players are bad at all. Denzel Ward is a Pro Bowler and will anchor the left cornerback position for years to come. I feel the same about Jabrill Peppers and his long-term viability at strong safety.
I also believe Damarious Randall is worth keeping around to play free safety, and Briean Boddy-Calhoun is a solid nickel back to step in for those nickel and dime formations. But again, with these positions you may be able to add better depth than Derrick Kindred, T.J. Carrie and Phillip Gaines.
Around The Edges
As for special teams, the default kick returner is Jabrill Peppers. I feel like you should use Antonio Callaway instead. Britton Colquitt is one of the best punters in the business so he shouldn’t go anywhere, but for the love of all that is holy release Greg Joseph immediately. Sign any kicker with an accuracy rating above 80 and the team will immediately be improved.
The Dawg Pound Is Barking Again
There is no doubt the Browns are on the rise. If a couple of kicks and a couple of bad calls had gone their way this season, there was a real possibility they could have made the playoffs. That’s no small thing, as I don’t need to remind Browns fans that the last time their team made the playoffs was 2002. Browns fans are hyped the team may have finally found its franchise quarterback in Baker Mayfield. You add that to a franchise defensive end in Myles Garrett, and possibly even a franchise running back in Nick Chubb, and those are some major positions locked down by guys on rookie contracts. So all of this makes for a good start in making the Browns a contender in Madden 19.
With some key free agent signings and some solid draft picks, you should be well on your way the playoffs and beyond.