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Cleveland Browns: Depth chart, schedule, 2020 preview and predictions

The Cleveland Browns will open their 2020 season on Sunday when they face the Baltimore Ravens.

CLEVELAND — Heading into the 2019 NFL season, a new era of Cleveland Browns football appeared to be afoot, as the franchise entered the year with hopes of breaking the NFL's longest-running postseason drought.

RELATED: More Cleveland Browns coverage from WKYC

But at year's end, many found themselves saying "same old Browns," with a 6-10 record leaving Cleveland on the outside looking in at the postseason for a 17th straight season and searching for a new head coach for the second time in as many years.

The good news about the NFL, however, is that each new season brings new hope. And despite coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic creating an offseason unlike any other in league history, there's plenty of reason for optimism when it comes to the Browns, who still lay claim to one of the NFL's most talented rosters.

Will this be the season the Browns finally breakthrough, or is Cleveland doomed for another disappointment? We'll find out in the weeks ahead. Until then, here's everything you need to know about the Cleveland Browns' 2020 season:

2020 Cleveland Browns' Coaching Staff

  • Head coach: Kevin Stefanski
  • Offensive coordinator: Alex Van Pelt
  • Defensive coordinator: Joe Woods
  • Offensive line coach: Bill Callahan
  • Run game coordinator/running backs coach: Stump Mitchell
  • Pass game coordinator/wide receivers coach: Chad O'Shea
  • Tight ends coach: Drew Petzing
  • Defensive pass game coordinator/defensive backs coach: Jeff Howard
  • Defensive line coach: Chris Kiffin
  • Linebackers coach: Jason Tarver
  • Special teams coordinator: Mike Priefer

Cleveland Browns' 2020 Coaching Staff Analysis:

After the disappointment of last season resulted in the firing of Freddie Kitchens, the Browns made Kevin Stefanski their fourth head coach in the past three seasons. Having spent the entirety of his coaching career as an assistant with the Minnesota Vikings, the 38-year-old Stefanski arrives in Cleveland with a reputation as a formidable play-caller with a knack for getting the most out of his quarterbacks.

Speaking of quarterbacks, new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt will be tasked with getting the most out of Baker Mayfield after previously working with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay and Andy Dalton in Cincinnati. New defensive coordinator Joe Woods held the same role with the Denver Broncos from 2017-18 before spending last season as the San Francisco 49ers' defensive backs coach.

Of the Browns' new assistant coaches, Bill Callahan possesses the potential to be the most impactful, as the former Raiders and Nebraska head coach will be tasked with helping improve an offensive line that served as one of Cleveland's biggest weaknesses a season ago.

Cleveland Browns' 2020 Offensive Depth Chart

Quarterback

  1. Baker Mayfield
  2. Case Keenum

Running back

  1. Nick Chubb
  2. Kareem Hunt
  3. D'Ernest Johnson

Fullback

  1. Andy Janovich

Wide receiver

  1. Jarvis Landry
  2. Rashard Higgins
  3. JoJo Natson

Wide receiver

  1. Odell Beckham Jr.
  2. KhaDarel Hodge
  3. Donovan Peoples-Jones

Tight end

  1. Austin Hooper
  2. Harrison Bryant
  3. David Njoku
  4. Stephen Carlson

Left tackle

  1. Jedrick Wills Jr.
  2. Kendall Lamm

Left guard

  1. Joel Bitonio

Center

  1. [JC Tretter]
  2. Nick Harris

Right guard

  1. Wyatt Teller
  2. Evan Brown

Right tackle

  1. Jack Conklin
  2. Chris Hubbard

Cleveland Browns' 2020 Offense Analysis: 

Mayfield returns as the Browns' starter and is looking to bounce back from last season's disappointing showing in which he threw the second-most interceptions in the NFL. The No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft should have plenty of help, as the Cleveland offense features two of the best running backs in football in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, two of the league's best wide receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, as well as a Pro Bowl tight end in free-agent signee Austin Hooper.

First-round pick Jedrick Wills Jr. takes over at left tackle, while free-agent signee Jack Conklin will bookend the right side of the Browns' offensive line. Cleveland lacks depth at both receiver and on the offensive line -- especially in the interior -- but possesses more than enough overall talent for Mayfield and Stefanski to work with.

Cleveland Browns' 2020 Defensive Depth Chart

Defensive end

  1. Myles Garrett
  2. Porter Gustin
  3. Joe Jackson

Defensive end

  1. Olivier Vernon
  2. Adrian Clayborn

Defensive tackle

  1. Sheldon Richardson
  2. Jordan Elliott

Defensive tackle

  1. Larry Ogunjobi
  2. Vincent Taylor

Will linebacker

  1. [Mack Wilson]
  2. Jacob Phillips

Mike linebacker

  1. B.J. Goodson
  2. Tae Davis

Sam linebacker

  1. Sione Takitaki
  2. Malcolm Smith

Cornerback

  1. Denzel Ward
  2. [Kevin Johnson]
  3. [M.J. Stewart]

Cornerback

  1. [Greedy Williams]
  2. Terrance Mitchell
  3. Tavierre Thomas

Strong safety

  1. Karl Joseph
  2. Ronnie Harrison

Free safety

  1. Andrew Sendejo
  2. Sheldrick Redwine

Cleveland Browns' 2020 Defense Analysis:

The Browns return all four starters on a defensive line that struggled to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks following Myles Garrett's six-game suspension, as well as insurance on the outside in the form of veteran Adrian Clayborn. Third-round pick Jordan Elliott could find himself taking on an expanded role after Andrew Billings opted out of the 2020 campaign.

Linebacker possesses perhaps the largest question marks, especially with Mack Wilson being sidelined for the start of the season due to a hyperextended knee. Cleveland will need immediate contributions from third-round pick Jordan Phillips, as well as second-year linebacker Sione Takitaki, who primarily played on special teams in his rookie campaign.

In the secondary, Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams and Terrance Mitchell will handle the bulk of duties at a cornerback position that has been hit with injuries of its own to start the season. The acquisition of safety Ronnie Harrison in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars could prove pivotal with second-round pick Grant Delpit lost for the season with a torn Achilles.

Cleveland Browns' 2020 Special Teams Depth Chart

Punter

  1. Jamie Gillan

Kicker

  1. Austin Seibert

Holder

  1. Jamie Gillan

Kick returner

  1. JoJo Natson
  2. Donovan Peoples-Jones
  3. D'Ernest Johnson

Punt returner

  1. JoJo Natson
  2. D'Ernest Johnson
  3. Donovan Peoples-Jones

Long snapper

  1. Charley Hughlett

Cleveland Browns' 2020 Special Teams Analysis:

Punter Jamie Gillan will look to build on a promising rookie season, while fellow second-year player Austin Seibert will attempt to solidify his status as the Browns' long-term kicker following a more rocky rookie campaign. Akron product JoJo Natson should provide some pop to Cleveland's return game after signing as a free agent, while sixth-round pick Donovan Peoples-Jones also possesses the potential to make an impact.

Cleveland Browns' 2020 Schedule

  • Sept. 13 at Baltimore Ravens (1 p.m.) CBS
  • Sept. 17 vs. Cincinnati Bengals (8:20 p.m.) NFL Network
  • Sept. 27 vs. Washington Football Team (1 p.m.) FOX
  • Oct. 4 at Dallas Cowboys (1 p.m.) FOX
  • Oct. 11 vs. Indianapolis Colts (4:25 p.m.) CBS
  • Oct. 18 at Pittsburgh Steelers (1 p.m.) CBS
  • Oct. 25 at Cincinnati Bengals (1 p.m.) CBS
  • Nov. 1 vs. Las Vegas Raiders (1 p.m.) FOX
  • Nov. 15 vs. Houston Texans (1 p.m.) FOX
  • Nov. 22 vs. Philadelphia Eagles (1 p.m.) FOX
  • Nov. 29 at Jacksonville Jaguars (1 p.m.) CBS
  • Dec. 6 at Tennessee Titans (1 p.m.) CBS
  • Dec. 14 vs. Baltimore Ravens (8:15 p.m.) ESPN
  • Dec. 20 at New York Giants (1 p.m.) CBS
  • Dec. 27 at New York Jets (TBD)
  • Jan. 3 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (1 p.m.) CBS

Cleveland Browns' 2020 Schedule Analysis:

It would be tough for the Browns' 2020 season to get off to a tougher start than a road game against the Ravens and reigning MVP Lamar Jackson. But after facing Baltimore, Cleveland will play two winnable games at home against the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Football Team, who picked first and second, respectively, in this past year's NFL Draft.

Road games against Dallas and Pittsburgh sandwich a home date vs. the Colts in one of the tougher three-game stretches of the season. The Browns, however, catch a break by not playing a game away from FirstEnergy Stadium between Nov. 1 and Nov. 22.

Back to back road games in New York toward the end of the season could prove pivotal in Cleveland keeping its postseason hopes alive. From there, it all comes down to a Week 17 home against the Steelers, who will be looking to make a return to the playoffs of their own.

Cleveland Browns' 2020 Season Prediction:

Record: 9-7, third Wild Card spot

Season ends: Loss in AFC Wild Card Round

I made the mistake of buying into the Browns' hype a season ago and not only predicted an 11-5 record, but a victory in the AFC Wild Card Round. 

You know what they say: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me." Only this time, I don't feel like I'm being fooled. Rather, I think it would be wrong to write off this team based on last season's shortcomings.

When it came to the 2019 Browns, everything that could go wrong did and to its credit, the franchise spent this past offseason patching up its biggest holes. A leaky offensive line now has two new starting tackles, while Cleveland has replaced an inexperienced head coach with... well, an inexperienced head coach.

Still, it wouldn't be fair to project Freddie Kitchens' shortcomings onto Stefanski, who at the very least, appears to project a more measured approach. If Stefanski can overcome the hurdles of this unique offseason and Mayfield can return to his 2018 form, a postseason appearance in an expanded playoff shouldn't be out of the question.

At 9-7, I think the Browns will do just enough to make that happen.