About the Author
Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
With the regular season in the books, here's a look at the Browns' top MVP candidates.
1. RB Peyton Hillis — The 6-2, 240-pound Hillis began the season sharing carries with Jerome Harrison and ended it the Browns' unquestioned top option at running back. Hillis rushed for 1,177 yards and 11 TDs on 270 carries and caught 61 passes for 477 yards and two TDs. He appeared in all 16 games this season, though he was bothered by a thigh injury earlier in the campaign and an injury to his ribs in the final two weeks.
2. NT Ahtyba Rubin — Rubin led all Browns defensive linemen in tackles (82) in a breakout season. "This is a big man; his effort it’s just outstanding," now former Browns head coach Eric Mangini said last week. "He’s strong, he plays with good technique, he cares, he’s tough."
3. CB Joe Haden — The Browns' 2010 first-round pick emerged as the team's top corner by season's end. Haden intercepted a team-best six passes and was named a fourth alternate for the AFC Pro Bowl team despite not earning a starting spot with the Browns until late in the season.
4. TE Benjamin Watson — In his first season with Cleveland, Watson led the Browns in receptions (68) and receiving yards (763), becoming the first tight end to lead the club in both categories since Ozzie Newsome. For an offense that liked to work the middle of the field, Watson was a very good addition.
5. (tie) OLT Joe Thomas — Thomas earned Pro Bowl honors for the fourth consecutive season. He has never missed a start, or a snap, as the Browns' left tackle.
5. (tie) S T.J. Ward — The physical Ward started all 16 games and recorded a season-high 123 tackles. He was also a key part of the Browns' special-teams coverage units.
Honorable mention: WR-RS Joshua Cribbs, S Abram Elam, OLB Scott Fujita, P Reggie Hodges, C Alex Mack, QB Colt McCoy, OLB Matt Roth.