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.
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.
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.
Jacob Rosen is a long-time contributor to WaitingForNextYear. He's also a writer online at SportsAnalyticsBlog and Nylon Calculus . An Akron native, Jacob is a current MBA student at the University of Oregon's Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. You can follow him on Twitter @WFNYJacob or e-mail him at udjrosen(at)gmail(dot)com.