Welcome back to the fourth installment of the series. I am taking a deep dive into the Browns roster and how they can best fill the holes in their roster. Each day I will be releasing a different position room.
For every position room, I have outlined how the NFL structures that position on the roster. I’ve also tried to predict the variation from the norm due to a Stefanski offense. The players we have in four categories: starter, rotation (play some snaps), depth (injury backup/special teams) and other (likely cut). Then I will lay out the options currently on the roster, available in free agency as well as via the draft for all 53 spots.
The average NFL team has 3.4 TEs on their roster. Every NFL team wants a do it all TE who can both block and receive. For two TE sets Stefanski will want the option to bring in a move TE to focus on chip blocking and receiving or a blocking TE to pass protect or set up the run. Then a fourth option in the TE room with some upside.
Starting TE: David Njoku
Roster – It will be fascinating to see how Stefanski and this front office view David Njoku. We will likely find out during free agency this year. The Browns have a decision to make on giving Njoku the fifth-year option as well, I would expect them to tender him and leave their options open.
FA – There are three names that the Browns could approach to give them a tier-one FA TE: Eric Ebron, Hunter Henry & Austin Hooper. It is a position room that has been held back in terms of spending due to Gronkowski taking cheap deals, so don’t be surprised if we see a jump in contract value. If they are targeting a top tier TE then Njoku is then demoted to the rotation move TE role.
Rotational Move TE: ?
Roster – A tier one TE FA would see David Njoku fill this role. He could flourish as a receiving TE due to his freak athletic measurables. Baker loved his TEs in the red zone while at college, so surround him with large pass-catchers would be a smart move.
FA – If the Browns don’t sign a tier-one TE target in FA then I struggle to find an ideal name in the mix to fill the move role in Free Agency. They could tender Ricky Seals-Jones as a restricted free agent target but he has only flashed a couple of times in the last two years.
Draft – The most likely option is to see if there is a name in the draft that they can work with. Possibly move one of the large WR class inside or see what is available on day 2/3 in the draft.
Rotational Blocking TE: ?
FA – There are two names that I feel would give Stefanski options at TE that can strengthen the room and offer a different dynamic: Darren Fells & MyCole Pruitt. The draft has always been a tough place to find blocking TEs as the position usually takes time to develop from college to the pros.
Depth TE: Stephen Carlson
Roster – Carlson was one of the bright parts of the Browns offense last season. On limited pass-blocking snaps he performed really well. His run blocking still has some way to go but it is something the team can work on.
Other: Pharaoh Brown
Check back tomorrow for the Offensive Tackle deep dive.
Any questions, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @JackDuffin. The DMs are open for any salary cap/roster construction questions you have.