As another anti-climactic Browns season winds down and the off-season is in sight, the Browns will face numerous decisions to improve their roster. With a losing record, rest assured, plenty of changes should be in the offing for such a team.
In the days and weeks leading up to season's end, theOBR has been privy to notes and thoughts regarding talent presenting within the Browns talent-base by a current personnel evaluator of a highly successful professional organization.
Significant questions at QB and RB could be large areas of interest for the Browns this off-season, leading us to begin there – the starting QB and RB roles for the 2012 Cleveland Browns.
QB Colt McCoy is what he is. A third-round draft selection and there is a reason for such a draft spot. McCoy is height-deficient creating visual issues beyond the line of scrimmage; he does not possess a strong arm to fit the ball into tight spaces and tends to seek the shorter options in the passing game.
Despite fans wanting to see McCoy achieve, he does not possess the physical qualities to be one of those QB's in the NFL that makes a difference on game-day.
McCoy's arm strength is low adequate at best and accuracy only is a means to improve his relatively weakened position. Due to accuracy issues at the professional level to date, McCoy's overall scale is comparable to a reserve on a solid team.
The young QB does not feel pressure well, surprisingly he struggles with pressure off the strong-side and tends to put his head down and run, rather than stand in the pocket and find receivers.
His great work-ethic enables his opportunities on game-day, but in the end McCoy isn't good enough.
OVERALL: Player is limited, both physically and as a consistent presence on the playing field. Grades as viable reserve option at the pro level. The QB spot is a position of upgrade.
RB Peyton Hillis is going to be a free agent and the likelihood he remains with the Browns is unlikely. Since sitting out a game due to strep throat, Hillis has been questioned about everything from his agent's dealings or non-dealings with the club to the severity of a hamstring injury recently returned from.
On a talent basis, Hillis has the ability to play in nearly any type of offensive scheme, which made him a favorite to excel in Cleveland in 2011 and beyond. Hillis has sufficient speed and burst between the tackles and can break outside containment on occasion in the running game.
Hillis has excellent hands and focuses as a receiver and is the type of player which does not need removed in third down or passing situations.
Due to the issues of player perception within the team, organization and outside the Browns, Hillis is likely to depart, but the free agent player market may be slimmer than once thought due to those same like questions.
OVERALL: Player has the ability to be a starter in the league. Physically strong and gifted, but has been known to be somewhat eccentric, creating issue in both his pro stops. Will garner interest to compete due to 2010 season success, unlikely to be free agency first option for team in need.
RB Montario Hardesty works hard to disprove the notion he is injury-prone, but he hasn't been able to remain healthy. Hardesty when healthy against the Ravens wasn't called upon to play, and yes, the staff is concerned about the same question.
Hardesty when healthy has above average speed and surprising agility, despite suffering two significant knee injuries throughout his playing career. At the collegiate level, Hardesty was sufficient coming out of the backfield in the passing game, but has struggled when provided the opportunity in the 2011 season.
Heading into the off-season, the Browns are likely to keep a close tab on available RB's, as Hardesty must prove he's capable before this organization will put their faith into his hands.
OVERALL: Player is damaged goods and likely to only be a training camp option unless proven healthy and reliable.