The 2014 NFL Draft was one of the deepest drafts in recent history and there could be more undrafted free agents who can make a NFL team. The Browns have open roster spots that could be filled with some of these players. The Browns were very active in getting the top undrafted players at positions of need. The NFL is full of undrafted free agents, who have come in and made a big impact in the league. With the Browns rookie camp coming up this weekend, here are five undrafted free agents I believe have a chance to make the Browns and make an impact in the NFL.
1. RB Isaiah Crowell, Alabama State
Alabama State’s Isaiah Crowell was a highly rated recruit coming out of high school, but fell into trouble causing his inconsistent college career. Crowell started at Georgia but then left to transfer to Alabama State after getting in trouble with the law. Crowell has the talent to be an NFL caliber running back. He has good vision and can make one cut and explode pass defenders. He has the agility and strength to get through defenders and take the ball up field for a big gain. The biggest flaws with him are his character and pass blocking. He must prove to the Browns that he is mature enough to be a professional. He will need to be a better blocker and show willingness to be a team player. He could definitely make the team because of the lack of depth at the position and because of his overall talent. He could be a change of pace back for the Browns and give them another player to hand the ball off, while Ben Tate and Terrance West get a rest.
2. WR Willie Snead, Ball State
Ball State’s Willie Snead was a very productive player in college with 106 catches, 1,516 yards, and 15 touchdowns in 2013. He produced every season and was very competitive. He is a smaller receiver with good hands and a very good route runner. He is a tough player for his size and can make catches in traffic. Snead fits in the NFL as a slot receiver. His biggest flaws are his smaller frame and athleticism. He does not have top speed for a player his size. He will need to use his good hands and route running to make plays in the NFL. The Browns are in need of wide receiver depth and Snead could give them some. He would give the Browns a slot receiver who the quarterback can rely on to make a catch. He also could contribute on special teams because of his toughness and competitiveness.
3. WR Chandler Jones, San Jose State
San Jose State’s Chandler Jones is another smaller receiver, but has good quickness. He was productive last year with 1,356 yards and 15 touchdowns. Jones has great agility and quickness, which allows him to make plays after the catch. Along with his good athleticism, he runs tight routes. He is smart and hard working, which helps make up for his lack of size. He is an explosive player with the ball in his hands. His biggest flaw is his smaller size, only 5-foot-9-inches and 183 pounds. He can get pushed around in press coverage and get stuck trying to get off the line. But I believe he could give the Browns another player who can make big plays. He could be a player the team can give the ball to in a reverse or screen play. The Browns need more playmakers on the offense, so Jones could possibly be the one filling this role as a big play guy.
4. QB Connor Shaw, South Carolina
South Carolina’s Connor Shaw was a productive college player with good accuracy. In his senior season, he threw 24 touchdowns and only had one interception. He has good accuracy that allows him to place the ball where only the receiver can catch it. Shaw is a good athlete with mobility to move around and out of the pocket. Shaw can make plays with his feet, which allows him to get out of trouble. He also is a competitive player with good leadership skills. His biggest deficits are his arm strength, height, and his injury history. He will not be a player who will wow people with his arm power and his size. He also has missed games because of injuries. Shaw will be battling for the third string quarterback spot. He fits well in Kyle Shanahan’s offense because of his mobility and accuracy.
5. S Darwin Cook, West Virginia
West Virginia’s Darwin Cook is a versatile safety who can play both free safety and strong safety. The Cleveland native has good athleticism and tackling ability that allows him to help in coverage and run support. He is pretty fluid in change of direction and quick to get to the ball. His most likely position in the NFL is strong safety because of his good tackling and coverage skills against tight ends. Cook struggles to cover the deep ball and must improve his ability to take the right angle to get to the ball. The Browns could use more depth in the safety positions. Cook would give them a player who can play either safety position. He will be a good special teams player on both punt and kick coverage.
Photo by: (AP Photo/Jay Sailors)