The Cleveland Browns are 3 days into Training Camp. Football is around the corner. The team has revamp its roster and philosophy on offense from last year’s air it out at all costs mentality. Replacing it with a creative but conservative rushing attack that opens up the passing game through play action. In order to make this change the Browns matched the contract sheet given to Alex Mack, signed Ben Tate and drafted Joel Bitonio and Terrance West.
Yet they were not done. Shortly after the draft the Browns also signed undrafted running back Isaiah Crowell. Crowell is somewhat of a mystery as he finished his college career at Alabama State, after bursting on to the scene at Georgia. His off the field issues, not his on the field talent is what caused Crowell to slip in the draft. Had he stayed clean and at Georgia he likely would of been the first running back picked. Unfortunately for him, but fortunately for the Browns, he didn’t so here he sits. No guarantees. No draft slot. No upper hand.
Except his talent. His talent can shine when on the field. Browns fans, and front office, have seen a shining star on the field be derailed for a bit by off the field troubles, Josh Gordon, and likely have Crowell on a short leash. Yet Crowell has impressed. So far in Training Camp, and throughout OTAs, after overcoming a hamstring issue, Crowell has shown well. Even in camp, where Tate and West have gotten a ton of ink, Crowell has stood out according to Fox Sports Ohio:
The team is high on Joel Bitonio at guard and also thinks it has a keeper behind West in undrafted runner Isaiah Crowell.
With some even believing he is a lock to make the team:
— Keith Mullins (@KeithDeuces) July 28, 2014
A lock is a strong statement yet if you watch some of his tape from college, not just highlight films, you see a player who could dominate on the next level. The Zone Blocking Scheme brought in by Kyle Shanahan should also benefit Crowell’s style and quick feet. His burst after a cut will be a huge benefit.
With Tate’s injury history, and short contract, it is possible that the Browns have their backfield of the (near) future in West and Crowell. Besides injuries, Crowell has to show that he can maintain himself off the field. Gordon’s example could help him understand the severity of consequences yet for many that is not enough. Crowell has to have affirmative goals he is seeking to achieve. Competition with Tate and West will be a great test for him. As for some of that tape I spoke of:
Freshman Year at Georgia
At Alabama State
Can you imagine him in 2 years in the pistol with Johnny Manziel running the zone read option? Imagine those quick jump cuts in the hole. Crowell may be a man of mystery today but expect him to be a big name in 2 to 3 years, either in the league or for getting in trouble and being out of the league.
What are your thoughts on Crowell?