It's now official.
Barring a trade down like they did three times last year when they started out with the No. 5 overall pick and ended at 21, the Browns will have the seventh overall selection in the NFL Draft this spring.
With a 5-11 record, the Browns tied with new Browns president Mike Holmgren's former team, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Oakland Raiders for the sixth-worst record in the league this year. But because the combined mark of the Browns' opponents this season, 131-125, was better than Seattle's 122-134 but not as good as Oakland's 135-121, the Seahawks will pick sixth, the Browns seventh and the Raiders eighth.
The Browns, of course, did not play the Seahawks this year but defeated the Raiders 23-9 eight days ago at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
The St. Louis Rams, who had the NFL's worst record at 1-15, will pick first, followed, in order, by the Detroit Lions (2-14), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-13), Washington Redskins (4-12) and Kansas City Chiefs (4-12) to round out the top five.
After the Seahawks, Browns and Raiders make their choices, the Buffalo Bills (6-10) will have the next pick at No. 9, followed, in order, by either the Chicago Bears or Jacksonville Jaguars (a coin flip will decide the order since they had the same 7-9 mark and the same 127-129 record of their opponents), the Miami Dolphins (7-9), San Francisco 49ers (8-8), Denver Broncos (8-8), Carolina Panthers (8-8), Tennessee Titans (8-8), Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7), Atlanta Falcons (9-7) and Houston Texans (9-7).
The order of the selections from 21 to 32 will be determined by what those teams do in the playoffs.
But as for the Browns, at No. 7, they should be able to get a player who will come in and make a big impact right away. They have 11 picks overall in the draft.
The list of opponents for the Browns in 2010 has also been announced, and in addition to the usual visits from AFC North foes Cincinnati, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, the Browns will see two teams featuring former Cleveland head coaches. Head coach Bill Belichick will bring his New England Patriots to town, and Romeo Crennel is expected to be named defensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs, who will also be here.
Playing in Cleveland as well will be Browns head coach Eric Mangini's former team, the New York Jets, with head coach Rex Ryan, the twin brother of Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers. This will be the Falcons' first game here since they lost 24-16 to the Browns in the 2002 regular-season finale, helping pave the way for Cleveland to make the playoffs for the first – and only – time in the expansion era.
Along with Cincinnati, Baltimore and Pittsburgh, the Browns will visit Buffalo, Miami, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville. The Browns haven't played the Bucs and Saints on the road since 2002.
Here are some other interesting facts about the Browns this season:
*They became just the second NFL team to start a season 1-11 and then win their last four since the NFL switched to a 16-game schedule in 1978. The other was the 1993 Bill Parcells-coached New England Patriots, who included as one of their season-closing wins a 20-17 decision over the Browns at Cleveland. Crennel and another former Browns head coach, Chris Palmer, were assistants on that Patriots club.
*The Browns committed just eight turnovers over their final eight games, tied with the playoff-bound Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers for third-fewest in the league. San Diego was tops with six, followed by Carolina (seven).
*They led the league in rushing over the final four games, getting 900 yards, a 5.0 yards-per-carry average and seven touchdowns. The Ravens (847) were second and the Chiefs (753) third.
*The Browns set a franchise record with four regular-season wins during the combined period of December and January.
*Over the final seven games of the year, the Browns scored 167 points, 10th-highest in the league. They finished just one point behind the Patriots, two behind Baltimore and three in back of the Giants.
*The last time the Browns won four consecutive games to end the regular season was 1986, when they captured their last five.
*With three sacks in the season-ending 23-17 win over the Jaguars on Sunday, the Browns finished with 40 overall, their most since getting 43 in 2001. The Browns recorded 11 multi-sack games, also their most since 2001.
*With 214 net rushing yards against Jacksonville, the Browns ran for at least 160 net yards in four consecutive games for the first time since 1968.
*Over the final quarter of the season, Jerome Harrison rushed for 570 yards, the second-highest total in the league behind only the Chiefs' Jamaal Charles with 658. He also tied for the league rushing lead in TDs with five. In addition, Harrison's 561 yards are the eighth-most over three straight games in NFL history, not far behind the likes of Hall of Famers O.J. Simpson, Walter Payton and Earl Campbell.
*With seven, the Browns tied New Orleans for the fourth-fewest sacks allowed in the NFL in the last seven games.
*The Browns finished in the top five in several special teams categories, including kickoff return defense (first, 18.9), average drive start after kickoffs (first, 31.4), punt return offense (third, 11.7), field-goal percentage (fourth, 92 percent), and punt return defense (fifth, 6.6).
*With 77 penalties, the Browns had the third-lowest total in the league.
*The Browns won time of possession five times in the final seven games.
*Alex Mack became just the fifth rookie to start all 16 games at center since 1998, joining Damien Woody (New England, 1999), Alex Stepanovich of Berea, Ohio and Ohio State (Arizona, 2004), Nick Mangold of Centerville, Ohio and Ohio State (Jets, 2006) and Samson Satele (Miami, 2007).
*And finally, the Browns scored 34 points on their first possession of the second half this season, eighth-highest in the league.