The Cowboys have Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray, Seattle has Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner and Richard Sherman, and of course, the Steelers have Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell. What these teams have in common is a trio of young, talented playmakers which serves as the team's nucleus.
So far, that's not working out.
Gilbert had a poor season as far as top-10 draft picks go, as the former Oklahoma State standout had only one interception and committed five penalties, was supplanted by underrated rookie from Pitt K'Wuan Williams and was suspended for the final game of the season for missing a meeting. Manziel's struggles have been well-documented and the former Heisman winner checked himself into rehab last week while Josh Gordon, who seemed primed to become one of the league's best receivers two years ago, has earned a season long suspension as the result of failing a drug test.
Gordon, initially suspended last season for testing positive for marijuana, had his sentence reduced to 10 games after revisions to the league's player conduct policy. Gordon recently tested positive for alcohol, a violation of his league sanctioned probation, earning him an automatic year-long suspension without pay. He has stated he "didn't know he couldn't drink alcohol in the offseason" and allegedly drank during a flight to Las Vegas according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
Cleveland looked primed for a bright future, as a Week 6 thrashing of the Steelers thrust the Browns into the role of legitimate contenders for an AFC playoff spot, their first since 2002. The Browns would go on to lose six of their final seven games to finish the season 7-9. Gilbert, Manziel and Gordon all missed the team's Week 17 game against the Ravens for allegedly partying the night before, missing a meeting, and earning suspensions.
Optimism seemed at an all-time high in Cleveland last summer; LeBron James was back in town, Corey Kluber was on his way to a Cy Young season for the Indians and the Browns looked to have finally built a winning foundation. But, with the futures of both Manziel and Gordon in doubt, and Gilbert still adjusting to the NFL learning curve, it seems as if the Browns are right back at the bottom hoping for the future to get better and for their luck to change.