July 29, 2014

Undrafted Free Agent Recap: Browns Look for WR, OL and DB Help

According to Pat Shurmur after the draft, the Browns planned on adding roughly about 15 new players to the roster via undrafted free agency. We all know now about the drafted players that the team picked up over the last few days, so let’s look at the various players that reports are linking to Berea.

Adding up the positions, it appears the Browns have nabbed three more WRs, four more OLs and three more DBs. The remaining positions are one DE and two LBs. Looking back at the team’s main pre-draft needs — QB, RB, OT, WR, DB, OLB — this makes perfect sense.

Here’s the current list of 14 according mostly to www.mockingthedraft.com:

Mike Allen, CB, James Madison (6-0, 185, 4.45 40 time)
Jake Anderson, OG, Akron (6-6, 304, 28 reps)
Matt Cleveland, OG, Idaho (6-4, 293, 20 reps)
Josh Cooper, WR, Oklahoma State (5-11, 187, 4.65 40 time)
Emanuel Davis, CB, East Carolina (5-10, 194, 4.59 40 time)
Garth Gerhart, OL, Arizona State (6-1, 305, 33 reps)
Tashaun Gipson, S, Wyoming (5-11, 206, 4.61 40 time)
William Green, DE, Florida (6-3, 250, 21 reps)
Josh Linam, LB, Central Florida (6-2, 242, 27 reps)
Antwuan Reed, CB, Pitt (5-10, 188, 4.59 40 time)
Bert Reed, WR, Florida State (5-10, 178, 4.46 40 time)
Jermaine Saffold, WR, Missouri St (6-0, 195, 4.51 40 time)
J.B. Shugarts, OG, Ohio State (6-6, 308, 17 reps)
Andrew Sweat, LB, Ohio State (6-1, 232, 4.74 40 time)

Analyzing these free agents matched up with the pre-draft needs, the Browns used their first two investments on RB Trent Richardson and QB Brandon Weeden. So, just in case there are any flame-outs with the later round picks such as OT Mitchell Schwartz or WR Travis Benjamin, Cleveland went out and sent a few invites to training camp to fill the gaps.

Looking back to last night, two of the first undrafted free agents that were announced to be headed to NE Ohio were Oklahoma State WR Josh Cooper and Ohio State LB Andrew Sweat. These both should be the guys fans get excited about first.

Cooper, one of Weeden’s favorite targets back in Stillwater, caught 139 passes for 1,451 yards and eight touchdowns during his final two seasons. He’s listed at 5-feet-11-inches with average speed (4.65), but should be helpful with Weeden’s transition to the pros.

Sweat, one of the top fan favorites in Columbus, battled through a concussion this past season to still lead the squad with 72 tackles. His late-season elbow injury prevented him from participating in several workouts, but he supposedly ran well during Oho State’s pro day and could be productive if he avoids injury.

Of course, many Buckeye fans were not as pleased to see OG J.B. Shugarts name on the Browns list, as he was well-known in Columbus for his often false start penalties. Among the other notables facts and figures, you have to be excited the 40 times from James Madison CB Mike Allen and Florida State WR Bert Reed, while the remaining offensive linemen and cornerbacks appear to be pretty strong.

Many fans also are interested in seeing where Virginia CB Chase Minnifield among others ended up in the free agent frenzy. Here’s a nod to some of other intriguing signings from around the NFL.

Chris Anzevino, C, Kent State – Baltimore Ravens
Phil Bates, QB, Ohio – Seattle Seahawks
Ben Bojicic, OL, Bowling Green – Cincinnati Bengals
John Brantley, QB, Florida – Baltimore Ravens
Michael Brewster, C, Ohio State – Jacksonville Jaguars
Vontaze Burfict, LB, Arizona State – Cincinnati Bengals
Kamar Jorden, WR, Bowling Green – Minnesota Vikings
Case Keenum, QB, Houston – Houston Texans
Noah Keller, LB, Ohio – St. Louis Rams
Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, DT, Kent State – Baltimore Ravens
Jarrett Lee, QB, LSU – San Diego Chargers
Phillipkeith Manley, OL, Toledo – Atlanta Falcons
Chase Minnifield, CB, Virginia – Washington Redskins
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State – Detroit Lions
Danny Noble, TE, Toledo – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Eric Page, WR, Toledo – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chris Polk, RB, Washington – Philadelphia Eagles
J.K. Schaffer, LB, Cincinnati – Jacksonville Jaguars
Monte Taylor, DL, Cincinnati – Seattle Seahawks
Mike VanDerMeulen, OL, Toledo – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
D.J. Woods, WR, Cincinnati – Tennessee Titans

Recapping again, it’s important to point out that undrafted free agents aren’t going to be immediately competing for starting time. For these players, the next three months will be all about fighting for a job on the roster that could lead to some special teams play and backup rotation minutes. Cheer forward for the Brownies and some of the local guys, and stay tuned for any new developments.

[Related: Report: Browns miss out on Chase Minnifield, sign Matt Cleveland, Antwuan Reed and J.B. Shugarts]

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    So the Browns target areas of need such as WR and DB AFTER the draft but not during it.  This is another example of what I have been talking about with their decision making.  I realize you can’t address every area but they had 13 (less the traded ones) draft picks and something called free agency in which to address areas of need.

  • Scottebooth

    Shoulda gotten Eric page, wow

  • http://twitter.com/PEngle39 Phil Smith

    Sorry but your stupidity cannot be ignored. I do know enough about football to realize that the offensive and defensive lines were more important than WR and DB. RT was a turn-stile and our D-Line ranked 30th in run defense! Sorry but H&H did very well in this draft to rectify those problems. Those guys have forgotten more football than you will ever know so stop acting like you’re some sort of professional. Plus, better QB and O-Line play will only make the receivers better and a more consistent D-Line will help out DB’s. It’s common sense.

    With that said, Josh Cooper and Jermaine Saffold are really good and will push our receivers. Cooper is a sure-handed slot receiver. Not overly fast, he finds the soft-spots in coverage and catches the ball, kind of like Jordan Shipley or Danny Amendola. Saffold is very fast, 4.36 speed and big play potential.

  • REEPJP

    I agree….the kid can ball…..I was actually surprised someone didn’t take a flier on him late in the draft

  • The_Matt_Of_Akron

    Slap a #31 on our new UDFA DE so I can get my jersey back out of mothballs.

  • mgbode

    I was hoping for him.  Just for the local tie-in story.  Ah well.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    I half agree with you, although without the condescension.  I think RT was a huge need and I was okay with seeing it addressed before WR and DB.  The yardage stats for our rush defense are misleading though.  Opposing teams chose to run against the Browns because our past run defenses have been bad, meaning that the Browns had the 2nd most run attempts against them of any team (and 2nd fewest passing attempts).  More rushing attempts = more yards against.  If you look at rush yards per attempt, we ranked 21st.  Still bad and still something that obviously needed to be addressed, but it wasn’t the abomination that everyone is making it out to be.

  • Vindictive_Pat

    That Mike Allen pick is intriguing… adequate size and good speed at CB.  I saw VT lose to JMU two years ago (ugh) and their CBs did a pretty good job shutting down our WRs.  Would be nice if this is a situation of a good player overlooked at a 1-AA school (although to be fair, CBs are usually scouted really well at the 1-AA and Division 2 schools… and no, I will not use the term “FCS”).

  • Chucky Brown

    17 reps shugarts, really??? that probaly wasnt even a top 5 performance for p/k’s

  • Garry_Owen

    William Green and a guy named “Cleveland.”    Woo hoo!

  • HoosOnFirst

    Even one of the LB signed did 27 reps.

  • Kingofthepoles

    wow holmgren you really missed out on Eric page just wow

  • KINGOFTHEPOLES

    yo shamrock i,m not sure if you noticed or not but colt was a terrible passer that made his receivers look bad he would dump it off to tight ends and the backs before he had the balls to pass to the wrs he is a great kid that needs to grow as an nfl qb and sadly we do not have the time for him to take off i do not dislike him he gave all he had but he is not in sync with def and decisions that must be calculated and executed in the few moments he is given to make things happen i hope it comes for him i like the kid but hes not there we are tired of waiting take a chance on something new aka weeden he can make mediocre receivers look good and he will throw some interceptions and i,m ok with that because he believes in himself colt has not yet found himself in the nfl the receivers we have with the edition of the new kids will be fine, this year is going to be different Trent will thrive off the colledge type love the ohio fans carry over to the browns we are all Ohio state fans and we act like it on nfl game day that’s why we have never given up on our brownies and never will now if we can only get the new guys and the veterans to pour there hearts out like we do for our brown and orange we will truly relive 1986 and possibly surpass them GO BROWNS!!!