April 27, 2012; Berea, OH, USA; Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden pose with jerseys at a press conference after being selected in the 2012 NFL Draft at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

Buffalo Bills Battles: Cleveland Browns

As the 2012 NFL Draft is now behind us, its time to take an in depth look at the Buffalo Bills 2012 opponents. In this series I will examine each of our 13 opponents off season moves as well as take a look at what their team looks like heading into the 2012 season.

Week 3: Cleveland Browns

Off Season Free Agent Signings and Losses

Signed:

DE Juqua Thomas-Parker
DE Frostee Rucker

Re-signed:

OT Oniel Cousins
CB Dimitri Patterson
DT Brian Schaefering
TE Alex Smith
G John Greco
ILB D’Qwell Jackson

Lost:

Cut DE Jayme Mitchell
Cut G Eric Steinbach
Cut OT Tony Pashos
Dolphins sign OT Artis Hicks
Broncos sign S Mike Adams
Chiefs sign RB Peyton Hillis

Remaining UFA’s:

ILB Titus Brown (RFA)
G Steve Vallos

Franchise Tag:

K Phil Dawson

2012 Draft Selections

3. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
22. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
37. Mitchell Schwartz, OT, California
87. John Hughes, DT, Cincinnati
100. Travis Benjamin, WR, Miami
120. James-Michael Johnson, ILB, Nevada
160. Ryan Miller, G, Colorado
204. Emmanuel Acho, LB, Texas
205. Billy Winn, DE/DT, Boise State
245. Trevin Wade, CB, Arizona
247. Brad Smelley, TE, Alabama

Summery

Coming off a 4-12 season Cleveland knew that they had work to do to rebuild their franchise. The free agency period saw more departures than new arrivals. Cleveland seemed to be a franchise that wanted/had to build through the draft. They have added eleven players and none are more important than Running Back Trent Richardson. The fate of the offense is going to be on his shoulders.

While the Browns have decent depth behind Richardson, his talent will dictate that he gets the lion share of the carries. I could easily see him being amongst the league leaders in touches this year as he is a threat running the ball as well as receiving out of the backfield.

I am probably in the minority when I say that Colt McCoy is a viable starting Quarterback for the Brown’s west coast offense. Cleveland just hasn’t surrounded him with enough weapons or an adequate offensive line. The Brown’s front office doesn’t seem to agree as they drafted Brandon Weeden number 22 overall. Team president Mike Holmgren recently went on record saying that Weeden will have to win the starting job over McCoy and Seneca Wallace. I have a feeling we will be seeing Brandon Weeden come week 3 starting in his third game.

The Browns statistically had a top 10 defense last season including being ranked 2nd against the pass. (They did have the benefit of playing against Bruce Gradkowski, Kyle Boller, Blaine Gabbert, Kerry Collins, and Charlie Whithurst). However, teams did rush for 147 yards per game on this defense making them the 30th ranked team against the run.

While Buffalo should win this contest, this has trap game for Buffalo written all over it as New England heads to Orchard Park for a week 4 battle the following week.

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