The Cleveland Browns are in their Organized Team Activities now, a ramp up to official Training Camp. As we learned with the Sean Lee injury and the Justin Gilbert scare, anything can happen and the most important thing during OTAs is health. The Browns players are learning a new system under Mike Pettine and Kyle Shanahan on both sides of the ball. Shanahan’s systems in Washington and Houston have been both creative and flexible. This is also true for Pettine’s defensive system in New York and Buffalo. Because of that OTAs are almost more important from a mental perspective then a physical one.
Over the next few weeks we will hit on all of the Browns rookies, starting by going backwards with the players who were drafted then hitting on a few of the undrafted free agents the team has signed. We will look at their fit in the system, physical and mental maturity, competition for playing time and prediction of impact this season. We started first with 4th round pick Pierre Desir, cornerback out of Lindenwood, click here for that write up. Today we move on to Terrance West, 3rd round running back out of Towson.
West is a compactly built running back who should excel in the Shanahan Zone Blocking Scheme. Charley Casserly, of the NFL Network, thinks West will beat out Ben Tate for the starting job in Cleveland:
West also has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield which will be important in play action and to give either Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel a solid check down receiver. It also is a great sign of his hands which will assist in any Zone Read or pitch plays that the Browns could run this year.
West had no red flags in relation to his character coming out of college, unlike one of his rookie competition at running back. West was a solid player and person from all accounts. He worked odd jobs while trying to walk on to a major school before walking on at Towson. That is a sign of a player who doesn’t take setbacks to heart and instead pushes towards what he wants and is willing to sacrifice for what matters to him.
West is in a unique position in that he could start as Casserly reported or he could be in competition with another rookie for playing time. Ben Tate was signed as the starter in Cleveland and should be given every chance to meet that role. Isaiah Crowell may have been the most talented running back in the draft but was signed by the Browns as an undrafted free agent. Crowell could easily explode on the field and push West to the side, or implode and be off the team at anytime. The Browns have a number of other backs that could compete with West and Crowell for backup snaps as well. The Browns traded back into the 3rd to acquire West showing how much they wanted him, but also made Crowell a quick and early priority after the draft. Competition is there, if West plays a big role this year he will have earned it.
Based solely on his fit in the system West would be predicted to have a huge impact this year. If the Browns hadn’t signed Tate or signed Crowell the team would probably feel comfortable with West as their starter. With Tate’s injury history, the investment in West and Crowell’s off the field concerns, West is the most likely to play the entire season. Based on the wide possibilities for West, he could be the starter and bell cow or could be used sparingly, his impact is hard to predict. So we choose the middle. Overall Impact - Medium
If you are interested in watching film on players Draft Break Down does a great job of putting together pieces. For West they have a number of videos, which you can click here to see. Also below is one video of a game against Eastern Washington in 2013
What are your expectations for West this year?