Earlier, I predicted that the Browns are probably overrating their running backs. It concerns me because much like they did with wide receivers the year before, the Browns seem like they could be betting on question marks. Well, when it comes to tight ends, I am really encouraged by the prospects of the Browns getting some breakout performances at the position this year.
The Browns brought back Alex Smith who is mostly known as a blocker when he isn’t the punchline for “which Browns tight end received a goal line hand off that resulted in a fumble?” I agree with the move because Smith is a pretty important piece for the team in terms of depth and blocking. Still, I think Smith’s utilization last year was the result of not trusting the right side of the offensive line and needing an extra blocker. I am hoping that the Browns can shore up the right side this year (finally) to allow some of the more offensive-geared tight ends on the field.
Obviously if Ben Watson can continue to play, that means him to an extent. Watson is 31 and has battled concussions the last couple years, so hope is the key word. I’m talking more about Evan Moore and Jordan Cameron. Moore was considered a disappointment in-season most of last year. Even that isn’t stating it right though because most of the disappointment seemed to be aimed at coach Pat Shurmur for not utilizing a guy who got a contract extension from the team during training camp. Moore had some decent multi-catch games, but he also had three games where he didn’t catch a single ball. Not exactly what you expect from a guy who signed a three-year deal for roughly $8.5 million.
But that’s in the past. The Browns have a year in the offense under their collective belts. They still have the remainder of the off-season to shore up the right side of the offensive line to enable the Browns to use the pass-catchers more. That obviously means Evan Moore, but I am also still expecting things from Jordan Cameron.
Cameron was the 102nd pick in the draft for the Browns in the 4th round. To have expectations of a fourth rounder isn’t maybe the wisest thing in the world, but Cameron showed a level of athletic ability on the field during training camp and a little bit at the end of last season that leads me to believe he could still become a serious mismatch against linebackers in the NFL. Granted it was only training camp, but Cameron’s leaping ability at the goal line at 6 foot 5 inches tall should make him a valuable asset all by itself.
I won’t pretend that the Browns have Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez lining up to catch passes from Tom Brady, but there is little doubt in my mind that this could and should be considered a position of strength for the Browns this season. It represents a real opportunity for giving defenses matchup problems. That’s not something the Browns have had a lot of recently.
Now, it’s up to Brad Childress and Pat Shurmur to find a way to allow those guys to give opposing defenses fits.