Cleveland Browns Week 16 Stock Report
The Cleveland Browns fell to 3-11 on the season in Week 15, losing to the Seattle Seahawks 30-13. But not every player contributed to the losing effort. Some actually helped the Browns, while though others decidedly hurt them as well.
Here is the Browns' stock report for Week 16 as they prepare to take on the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs.
Stock Up: WR Terrelle Pryor
Terrelle Pryor made his regular-season debut as a Browns wide receiver. And though he didn't record a catch on his two targets and earned negative yardage on his Wildcat run, he did play 15 total snaps against the Seahawks, according to Pro Football Focus—or three more than Dwayne Bowe, a veteran at the position.
With fellow receiver Andrew Hawkins placed on injured reserve Wednesday and Bowe barely active on the season, it's quite possible that Pryor will see his playing time increase against the Chiefs. And the more snaps Pryor can get at his new position will help him be more comfortable at wideout as well as give him additional opportunities to show off his athleticism and what it could provide for the Browns moving forward.
Stock Down: The Defense
Just one week after the Browns defense put up its best performance of the season against the San Francisco 49ers, the defense we've become more accustomed to seeing returned to the field in Seattle.
Cleveland's defense gave up 423 yards on the day—241 passing, 182 rushing—and 30 points. This is a common occurrence for the Browns this season; the team has given up more than 400 yards in five games and has seen the opposition score 30 points or more in nine games.
Something must be done to improve this defense. With only two games left to play—and both against highly effective offenses—it won't happen in 2015. But Cleveland's defense has done little but make it impossible for the offense to get on the field and score points to make up for the weakness against opponents' passing and rushing games.
The defense has been bad all season, and Week 15 was no exception.
Stock Up: DE Desmond Bryant
Not every member of Cleveland's defense put forth a disappointing performance in Week 15. Defensive end Desmond Bryant had a strong performance against the Seahawks, posting three combined tackles, including one for a loss, 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hits.
The sacks bring his total to six on the year, which leads the Browns. He is also one of the few Browns defenders who hasn't looked terrible against the run this season. And with Bryant under contract until the 2018 offseason, he can be an important piece upon which the defense can build for the future.
Stock Down: OL Cameron Erving
Rookie Cameron Erving's tenure as the left guard in place of the injured Joel Bitonio was short-lived, as the lineman was too much of a liability to remain a starter. Veteran journeyman Austin Pasztor has since taken his place.
But starting right guard John Greco suffered a knee injury against the Seahawks, which forced Erving back on the field. The results were again not pretty. Pro Football Focus credits Erving with two of the three sacks on Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel in Week 15, along with two hurries, and he also committed yet another penalty.
Erving will be the starting right guard for the team's final two games, and it's hard to imagine the former tackle and center settling down in his new (if temporary) position. Expect more quarterback pressure to come from Erving's side of the line.
Stock Up: RB Duke Johnson
Browns rookie running back Duke Johnson has shown all season why the team drafted him in Round 3. While not running the ball well—mainly because the Browns have struggled as an offense to advance the ball on the ground—he's proved quite important to the team's passing game.
In Week 15, Johnson was the Browns' leading rusher and receiver, with four rushes for 46 yards, including a long run of 39 yards, and five catches on five targets for 39 yards, including a catch of 22 yards.
With a more stable offense and more NFL experience, Johnson could prove to be the Browns' most valuable offensive weapon. Slowly, he's come into his own this year, and his future looks bright no matter what may happen to Cleveland's coaching staff during the offseason.