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Young Browns hitting their stride

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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening

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Posted Dec. 09, 2012 @ 2:04 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Browns GM Tom Heckert’s future in Cleveland has been an oft-discussed topic ever since the club’s ownership change, and it’s unclear what his future holds beyond the 2012 campaign.

However, what is clear is that Heckert has helped remake the roster in three years on the job. To wit: 22 of the 54 players currently on the roster, as well as two players on injured reserve and one on the practice squad, are Browns draft picks selected in Heckert’s time at the helm. In fact, the Browns had the third-youngest opening week roster in the NFL, with only the Rams (25.30) and Eagles (25.51) having lower average-aged players than Cleveland (25.55).

The Browns’ 2012 draft class has been deep and productive, with RB Trent Richardson, QB Brandon Weeden, WR Josh Gordon (supplemental pick) and ORT Mitchell Schwartz all garnering starting roles on offense, DTs Billy Winn and John Hughes and LB James-Michael Johnson all contributing on defense and WR Travis Benjamin contributing on special teams and offense.

The way we hear it, the continued improvement of the 2012 draft class has been striking. Certainly that reflects well on the Browns’ coaching staff, which has uncertain future of its own.

Gordon, for whom the Browns surrendered a 2013 second-round pick to take in the supplemental draft, has especially been a revelation, emerging as the club's top receiver and quickly proving to be ready for the rigors of the NFL. 

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