With a sea of new faces in the team facilities, HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series has decided upon the Cleveland Browns to be their focus in 2018. Previously, the Browns have been able to side-step the award-winning series, but following a 0-16 season in 2017 and drafting a polarizing player are first-overall, it’s easy to see why HBO selected Cleveland out of the six qualifying teams. It appears that now the Browns will now be in the spotlight.
The Cleveland Browns will become the 13th NFL team to be featured on “Hard Knocks” since the series started in 2001. Cleveland’s rebuilding process will surely take a majority’s share of the spotlight as the Browns will be looking to turn things around from a 1-31 record under head coach Hue Jackson, returning for his third season in the position. The Browns will also be featuring a number of young players on the roster, including Baker Mayfield. Mayfield was the first overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, a selection that most analysts thought belonged to Sam Darnold or Josh Allen leading up to draft day.
Focusing on Mayfield’s story throughout the series is likely a no-brainer for HBO to gain ratings in the series. General manager John Dorsey “cleaned house” in the quarterbacks’ room, trading away DeShone Kizer, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan during the offseason. Dorsey did make a trade with Buffalo to acquire Tyrod Taylor for the 2018 season. The plan in Cleveland appears to be to sit Mayfield for at least the entirety of the 2018 season before allowing him to take the field for regular season play. Taylor did lead a 9-7 Bills team to the playoffs last season, the first time Buffalo has been in the playoffs since 1999.