Browns regular-season wrap-up

January, 5, 2011
1/05/11
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Final Power Ranking: No. 27
Preseason Power Ranking: No. 29

[+] EnlargePeyton Hillis
Kim Klement/US PresswirePeyton Hillis rushed for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Browns this season.
Biggest surprise: The Browns produced arguably the biggest surprise in the NFL this season in tailback Peyton Hillis, who came out of nowhere to produce a career high 1,177 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns. Cleveland acquired Hillis from the Denver Broncos in exchange for quarterback Brady Quinn. The Browns obviously got the better end of that deal and found a building block for the future. Now Cleveland needs to find depth at the tailback position to help take some of the pressure off Hillis, who wore down toward the end of the season.

Biggest disappointment: Veteran Jake Delhomme was paid $7 million this year to bring stability to the quarterback position. But poor play and injuries made Delhomme the team's No. 3 quarterback by season's end. Delhomme threw for 872 yards, two touchdowns and seven interceptions in five games. He also suffered two ankle injuries during the course of the season. Delhomme's struggles opened the door for rookie quarterback Colt McCoy to take over the starting job much earlier than expected. The third-round draft pick was projected to sit the entire 2010 season and learn from the sideline, but McCoy started eight games with mixed results.

Biggest need: The Browns have several needs, but an elite wide receiver would greatly improve the offense. A major part of Cleveland's offseason should be dedicated to developing and putting the right pieces around McCoy, who showed promise. Browns president Mike Holmgren seems to have confidence that McCoy is the quarterback going forward. The Browns' offensive system also needs a major overhaul, and that was one reason Eric Mangini was fired this week. There is a good chance Cleveland implements a West Coast offense next season.

Team MVP: Hillis. The Browns would probably be a two- or three-win team without Hillis' production this year. He was Cleveland's leading rusher and second-leading receiver, and the team fell apart when Hillis was banged-up late in the season. The Browns ended the season with four straight losses.

Draft Watch: The Browns hold the No. 6 overall pick, which is a good spot to land an impact player. I'm usually against drafting receivers in the top 10, but that's clearly Cleveland's biggest need. Receiver prospects A.J. Green and Julio Jones could be some early names to consider this offseason. The Browns also could use another pass-rushing linebacker or defensive end. Last season, Cleveland got cornerback Joe Haden, safety T.J. Ward and McCoy in the draft, and securing three rookie starters is tremendous. Another solid draft class would be a great step in the right direction for Cleveland, which also has to find its next head coach.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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