When people think of the Cleveland Browns, players who come to mind are Josh Cribbs and Joe Thomas. Both players have been to multiple pro bowls. There’s no denying the value of Thomas and Cribbs to the Browns.
Most Browns’ fans are expecting big things from Jerome Harrison, Mohamed Massaquoi, Shaun Rogers, Eric Wright, Sheldon Brown and as well as rookies Joe Haden and Montario Hardesty. Last years first round pick, center Alex Mack, is also being counted heavily on in his second season.
Quarterback Jake Delhomme and tight end Ben Watson will both be in their first season with the Browns and much is expected from them.
Linebackers Scott Fujita and Chris Gocong should both be solid additions as well.
Much is already known about who the team’s key players should be but what about the others. It is those players, the ones who are under the radar, that could be the difference between Cleveland finishing 5-11 or being a good team.
Three players who could be pleasant surprises this year are:
James Davis , running back. Davis was on the verge of some major playing time last year before his rookie season got wiped out due to an injury.
All the talk has been about James Harrison and rookie Montario Hardesty. Which one will be the starter. How many carries will they both get.
In an offense sure to rely heavily on their ground game, Davis has the size, vision, quickness and power to be a force on this year’s team. Davis can also catch the ball as well. Last year he was the Browns’ best back in the preseason. Keep an eye on him. Davis could end up making it a threesome at running back.
Ahtyba Rubin , nose tackle. Athletically he’s no Shaun Rogers but technically he’s a better nose tackle. Last year when Rubin took over due to Rogers’ season ending injury, the defense improved. Rubin knows what’s expected of him at the position.
Rubin was extremely solid in his play last year and just might be a star on the rise. He may not rack up a lot of stats but Rubin’s solid play will allow others to do so.
Evan Moore , tight end. At 6-6, Moore has both great size and great hands. This off season Cleveland signed former New England Patriots tight end, Ben Watson. Watson is a proven veteran and should be the starter for the Browns.
In what should be a ball control offense run by the Browns this year, I expect to see both Moore and Watson on the field a lot together. Moore can also line up at wide receiver, which creates a huge miss match for the defense. Look for Moore to be a favorite third down target of Delhomme’s this season.