Cleveland Browns Free Agency: Undrafted Player Profiles
Could this be the year that the Browns find another undrafted gem like Josh Cribbs?
Starting at 10:00 am Tuesday, the Cleveland Browns did exactly what many thought they would do by signing quite a few undrafted rookies.
The Browns have reiterated that one of their main goals is to get younger, and they certainly did that on Tuesday by signing a total of 22 undrafted rookies. The front office decided it would be best if they first signed undrafted rookies before they focused their attention on free agency and signing their 2011 draft class.
It would be great to examine all 22 players but in reality the majority of these rookies will not make the final 53 man roster. I thought it would be best to analyze a few players and determine their chances of making the team or the practice squad.
Kentucky WR Chris Matthews
Weight: 218 lbs.
2010 Statistics: 57 rec. 897 yards 9 TDs
A big physical receiver who arguably was the best run blocking wideout in the draft behind Julio Jones.
He was a highly touted JUCO transfer who put up respectable statistics while playing behind Kentucky's star receiver Randall Cobb.
With such a weak receiving unit there is an opportunity for Matthews to make the team. But to do so, he will have to beat out Norwood and possibly even Carlton Mitchell.
Utep RB Donald Buckram
Height: 5' 9''
Weight: 195 lbs.
2010 Statistics: 335 yards 1 TD
His draft stock took a drastic fall during his senior year due to a sprained knee and foot. In 2009, Buckram gained 1594 yards and 18 touchdowns but many claim it was due to the lack of competition within Utep's conference.
Although he may be considered undersized for a power running back, Buckram does a great job of breaking through arm tackles and making defenders miss with his elusiveness.
If healthy, he has a decent chance to make the team but most likely will become a practice squad player. He will probably turn some heads during preseason games but the Browns are expected to sign another running back in free agency which will hurt his chances of making the team.
Missouri CB Carl Gettis
Height: 5' 10''
Weight: 199 lbs.
2010 Statistics: 48 tackles 2 int.
A four year starter at Missouri, Gettis continually proved himself to be Missouri's top cover corner.
He does not have the top end speed most teams desire for a cornerback (4.7 sec. in the 40 yard dash). But, he is a physical hitter who may see time at free safety during the preseason.
The Browns secondary includes some quality players but they lack depth so there is a chance Gettis could make the team. However, to make the team Gettis will have to beat out other more athletic rookies and immediately contribute on special teams.
Notre Dame LB Brian Smith
Height: 6' 3''
Weight: 240 lbs.
Career Statistics: 189 tackles 5 sacks 4 int.
Was, without a doubt, the leader of Notre Dame's linebacker unit. His good tackling technique and high football IQ will help because he does not have the sideline to sideline speed you seek in a linebacker.
Smith's ability to play both inside and outside linebacker will increase his chances to make the team. But, the decision to keep Smith will come down to what the Browns do in free agency and which current players they will retain.
The chances are slim that he makes the final roster for week one, but Smith could become a valuable practice squad player for the Browns
Hillsdale QB Troy Weatherhead
Height: 6' 3''
Weight: 218 lbs.
2010 Statistics: 3,215 yards 26 TDs
Led Division II football in passer efficiency (171.6) and completed 77% of his passes. Troy has good size and accuracy. He also moves well within the pocket but the lacks arm strength needed to be an NFL quarterback.
The signing of former WVU quarterback Jerrett Brown does not bode well for Weatherhead's chances of making the final roster. Depending on whether or not the Browns release Delhomme (which by now is almost a certainty) Weatherhead may not even get enough reps in practice to show off his skill set
Not all is bad for Troy, since he is currently the back-up quarterback for the Cleveland Gladiators in the Arena Football League.
Oregon State CB James Dockery
Height: 6' 1''
Weight: 185 lbs.
2010 Statistics: 56 tackles 4 int.
Highly recruited out of high school, Dockery did not make the immediate impact the Beavers were expecting from him. Eventually caught on and has started every game the past two season while earning All Pac-10 Honorable Mention this past season.
Dockery needs to gain more weight and be more physical if he wants to make the final roster. But, he does possess the natural athletic ability one needs to be a successful NFL cornerback.
Again, with the Browns lacking depth in their secondary, Dockery has a good chance to make the roster. However, early into training camp Dockery will need to use his athleticism to prove he can contribute on special teams.