CLEVELAND -- After finishing the 2017 season with an 0-16 record and 17-game losing streak dating back to the last game of 2016, there are no shortage of needs for the Cleveland Browns in the offseason.
From quarterback to wide receiver and productivity out of the defensive backfield, inconsistent play at multiple positions plagued the Browns throughout 2017.
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This is not so much an indictment on the performance of rookie DeShone Kizer as it is the way the quarterback room was constructed.
Although the Browns had a veteran on the roster, Brock Osweiler, throughout training camp, they chose to release him, and eat nearly $16 million in guarantees in the process for him to play for the Denver Broncos, and kept Kizer, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan.
In 2017, Kessler and Hogan were in their second NFL seasons, respectively, and now, entering 2018, Kizer is the most tenured of the Browns' signal-callers.
In his first 15 NFL starts, Kizer completed 255 of 476 attempts (53.6 percent) for 2,894 yards with 11 touchdowns against a league-worst 22 interceptions. Despite taking 38 sacks for 226 lost yards and posting a 60.5 quarterback rating, Kizer rushed for 419 yards, 28 first downs and five touchdowns.
But the most important stat remains 0, as in the number of wins the Browns' quarterbacks have in 24 combined starts in the NFL.
The Browns chose to test the depth of the secondary when they released two-time Pro Bowl defensive back Joe Haden prior to the final game of the 2017 preseason, and utilized the skills of fellow veterans Jason McCourty and Jamar Taylor.
Although McCourty played well, defending 14 passes, intercepting three others and returning one for a 56-yard touchdown against the Houston Texans, and Taylor had 10 defenses and one forced fumble, the secondary was exposed against competent NFL quarters.
A franchise-record 10-time Pro Bowl player, left tackle Joe Thomas was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft out of the University of Wisconsin. Until a torn triceps in his left arm ended his season prematurely, Thomas played 10,363 consecutive snaps, which is believed to be the longest such streak in NFL history.
Thomas will take the offseason to decide if he wants to come back, but even if the 10-time Pro Bowler elects to return to Cleveland for a 12th NFL season, it is time for the Browns to get a replacement ready to be the left tackle of the future.
The Browns addressed the secondary when they selected former University of Michigan standout Jabrill Peppers in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, but the back end of the defense struggled to maintain depth and health.
In 13 games with the Browns, Peppers made 57 total tackles, including 44 solo stops and 13 assists, with three passes defended and one interception in the season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers. On special teams, Peppers has gained 318 yards on 14 kickoff returns and averaged 6.0 yards over 30 punt runbacks.
However, by the end of the year, the Browns finished the year with one safety, Derrick Kindred, on injured reserve and another, Ibraheim Campbell, playing for the Texans after he was waived/injured in mid-November.
That left Peppers and undrafted free agent rookie Kai Nacua to start games at the end of the season.
The Browns got a strong effort from running back Duke Johnson, as he proved adept at catching the ball out of the backfield.
In addition to his 348 yards and four touchdowns on 82 carries, Johnson caught 74 passes for 693 yards and three scores. The receptions and receiving yardage were tops on the Browns, but he was used mostly in change-of-pace spots and struggled when running between the tackles.
Additionally, 2017 was a contract year for Isaiah Crowell, who ran for 853 yards and two touchdowns on 206 carries. Crowell averaged 4.1 yards per carry, but could walk in free agency, thus leaving the Browns with Johnson and second-year player Matthew Dayes under contract for 2018.