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Why the Cleveland Browns have the NFL’s No. 1 list, according to a former league consultant

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Marc Ross worked in the New York Giants front office for 11 years. Before that, at the age of 27, he became the youngest college scout director in the league with the Philadelphia Eagles. He knows what it’s like to create a list.

There is no list in the NFL that he likes better than the Cleveland Browns.

Smart guy.

Ross joined me on Thursday̵

7;s edition of the Orange and Brown Talk Podcast to discuss his placement and the various parts of the list. I wrote before the Super Bowl in January that the Browns were perhaps the third best team in the league and that was before they added John Johnson III, Jadeveon Clowney, Troy Hill, Anthony Walker and Thank you McKinley in free agency and took Greg Newsome and Jeremiah Owusu -Koramoah in the draft.

I think you will enjoy our conversation in 30 minutes. But here, in short, are my five reasons why I think placing the Browns as the league’s No. 1 list makes sense.

1. No hole holes: There may not be obvious standouts at linebacker and defensive tackle, but there seems to be a reliable four-man rotation (at least) of veterans and young players in both places. I do not think you will look at a place and think that a weakness that will ruin the season. Everywhere is strong.

Offensive line: Five top guys who all return from a year ago – I do not know that any team in the league can match that. What a building block.

Depth of skill position: The best comebook for two men in the league; two high-level receivers and four more that you can put on the pitch with some faith; and three narrow ends for an offense that loves narrow ends. It’s 11 talented guys who give Kevin Stefanski opportunities and make every single absence of a player something that should derail the season.

4. Good players still with upside: Whether it’s veterans like Odell Beckham Jr. or Clowney; young veterans like Denzel Ward or Ronnie Harrison; or young players like Jedrick Wills, Grant Delpit, Greedy Williams and the current draft picks, which is talent where the team can expect a minimum of good play. But there are at least a few players on this list who can also make a big leap this season. What if OBJ is better than we’ve ever seen?

5. Quarterback is good enough: Baker Mayfield need not be better than Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady for the Browns to be placed ahead of Kansas City and Tampa Bay. But he must be within reach. He is.

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