Should the Cleveland Browns take a chance on Moritz Boehringer?
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns need help at wide receiver; could German-born Moritz Boehringer be the player to help them out?
The Cleveland Browns have several roster holes still left to fill as the 2016 NFL Draft approaches, most notably at wide receiver.
The team saw Travis Benjamin leave in free agency, released the ineffective (and over-paid) Dwayne Bowe, have no idea when or if Josh Gordon will be reinstated, and have Brian Hartline, Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel all returning from injury-shortened seasons.
Luckily the draft is relatively deep in wide receivers this year, with players like Will Fuller, Laquon Treadway, Josh Doctson and Michael Thomas, among others, expected to draw the attention of teams in the early rounds.
Wide receiver is not the only position that needs help, however, meaning the Browns may wait until later in the draft to select a wide receiver, which brings us to Moritz Boehringer.
The 6-foot-4, 227-pound Boehringer was Rookie of the Year in 2015 after catching 70 passes for 1,461 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns of the German Football League. He has only been playing football since 2013 and last season was his first in Germany’s top division, but those numbers were enough to peak the interest of NFL scouts.
That interest was heightened on Thursday when Boehringer participated in Florida Atlantic’s Pro Day where, according to NFL.com, he ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, had a vertical of 39 inches, a 10-foot-11 broad jump, a 4.10-second short shuttle, 11.15-second 60-yard shuttle, and a 6.65-second three-cone drill and 17 lifts on the bench press. Those numbers would have been good enough to place Boehringer in the top five of wide receivers had he participated in February’s NFL Scouting Combine.
The New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers – two teams that know a thing or two about winning – are reportedly interested in Boehringer, as are the Kansas City Chiefs, who set up a visit during the middle of Boehringer’s workout.
So should the Browns also be taking a look?
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That’s a tough question to answer as the level of play in the German league is considered well below that of college football in the U.S., making Boehringer a developmental player in probably every sense of the word.
However, the Browns are not going to be winning many games in the immediate future, so if there was ever a team being in a position to add a development player, it would be them.
In addition, head coach Hue Jackson has said that he likes “bigger, faster guys (to) play the position” of wide receiver and Boehringer certainly fills those two criteria.
Finally, the Browns hold 10 selections in the upcoming draft, including a pair near the end of the fifth round (Nos. 172 and 173 overall) and then again early in the sixth round (No. 176 overall), giving them the luxury of using one of those picks on a player who may not be ready to contribute until the team is ready to compete. (Provided either of those happen, of course.)
The odds of Boehringer making an NFL roster are pretty long, but sometimes those odds pay off in a big way, meaning he could be a player that the Browns should at least kick the tires on before draft weekend rolls around later this month.