Devin Funchess: Browns Draft Profile
By Thomas Moore
Oct 11, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines wide receiver Devin Funchess (1) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Browns season is over. We will spend a good amount of time reviewing the season but we will spend even more time preparing for the off-season. Browns 2015 NFL Draft seems ready to be a very interesting one for the team. With 10 picks, including two in the first round, the Browns are ready to make noise again for the second year in a row.
Instead the 2014 started off strong and ended with a thud. Last year the Browns draft included a big trade down and the drafting of Johnny Manziel. While the first round hasn’t panned out yet, the rest of the draft seems to be great. It is likely that GM Ray Farmer and Head Coach Mike Pettine see a greater need for more veteran talent on a very young roster and we expect them to be aggressive in seeking to bring in that talent during Browns free agency.
After free agency we wouldn’t be surprised if the Browns tried to trade their picks to move up, to get another veteran or went with best player available instead of drafting for need. Farmer did this last year when he drafted Joel Bitonio, Terrance West, Christian Kirksey and others instead of drafting a wide receiver. We could see that again.
In preparation for such we will be taking a look at certain players that we think the Browns could target. Keep in mind we are not saying that these are players they are targeting, although some rumors may start to leak of the Browns having interest in them, instead these are players that we think the Browns could or should have interest in. Our profile will try to include as much information as possible to prepare you for the NFL Draft.
6’4”, 232 pounds
2014 – 11 games; 62 receptions for 733 yards, 4 touchdowns
2015 NFL Draft Range
Low 2nd to High 3rd – A two-time All-Big Ten selection, Funchess switched from tight end to wide receiver his senior year at Michigan, and could be moving back to tight end at the NFL level.
The fact that Funchess has played both inside and outside makes him an intriguing player, one who could potentially create mismatch problems for opposing defenses. And his numbers are impressive when you consider that he spent his time at Michigan catching passes from Denard Robinson (currently a running back with Jacksonville) and Devin Gardner, neither of whom will be confused with Tom Brady.
"“Funchess has mismatch-caliber size, but lack of vertical talent and below-average hands might negate the size to an extent. Funchess was used outside and inside at Michigan and had success from the slot. He has the feel of a hybrid player who can be a big guy at wide receiver or a mismatch nightmare as a move tight end with more weight on his rangy frame.” – NFL.com"
"“On the hoof, Devin Funchess is as good as it gets. He simply looks like the next great wideout. And while he has the ability to be a good NFL receiver with a valuable red zone-type role, he could be a potentially elite tight end along the lines of Julius Thomas. I’d bring him in as a tight end and bulk him up for the run game. If he stays at wide receiver, he’ll need time to develop as a more consistent route runner. There’s no denying his upside to become one of the NFL’s true mismatches in the passing game. He’s a safe pick because of his experience and success at tight end, and if he fails to mature as a pure receiver, he should be able to easily transition back to a joker-type weapon for a creative offensive coordinator. Funchess will emerge as a starting pass catcher sooner than later, and will provide an offense with great value on Day Two.” — draftbreakdown.com"
So what’s not to like about Funchess?
For starters, according to GBMWolverine Funchess has had difficulty holding onto the ball (he had 20 drops over the past three seasons) to the point where the site labeled him “Little Braylon” after former Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards. (Uh-oh!) The site also points out that Funchess needs to work on his route running and blocking may not be his primary focus.
And according to NFL.com, Funchess’ pass catching is “labored” and he “allows throws into his frame … doesn’t win enough 50/50 throws … and gears down into cuts and slow to accelerate out of breaks.”
Now that draft projection is starting to make more sense.
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Browns Player Selection Could Impact
The Browns replaced Jordan Cameron, who signed with Miami as a free agent, with Rob Housler. With the Browns committed to the run, it is a safe assumption to pencil in Gary Barnidge or Jim Dray (quite possibly both) for roster spots, especially since Housler is not known for his blocking.
How Selection Could Be Impacted By Free Agency
The Browns only signed Housler to a one-year contract, giving the club roster flexibility if they select a tight end who outperforms Housler during training camp. Acquiring a starting caliber tight end in the draft has become a priority, arguably as much as a wide receiver. Unless the Browns stick to a strictly best player available strategy, a tight end could very well be selected within the first three rounds.
High-Medium – As long as the Browns lack a top quarterback, a well-rounded tight end who can help in both the running and short passing game will be essential. The current trio of Housler, Barnidge and Dray are serviceable and the Browns need to continue working to improve the position. Funchess is an athletic and versatile player, one who could make life easier for whoever lines up under center for the Browns.
Just as long as he is not the next Braylon Edwards.
Do you think the Browns should draft Devin Funchess?