Cleveland Browns draft profile: Austin Hooper
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns may not see tight end as a priority in the draft, but Stanford’s Austin Hooper could change their minds.
It is no secret that the Cleveland Browns need help at the wide receiver position, especially after losing Travis Benjamin in free agency and the increasing likelihood that Josh Gordon has played his last down in the NFL.
While is it an indisputable fact that a quarterback makes his receivers, rather than the opposite, the Browns still need players who can catch the ball no matter who is throwing it to them. And it is not just at wide receiver that the team may be looking at in the 2016 NFL Draft, but tight end as well.
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Gary Barnidge had a career year in 2015 that may prove difficult to repeat for a player who will turn 31 years old shortly after the season starts this fall. Behind him is a group of unknown players (if we are being generous) in E.J. Bibbs, Connor Hamlett and Randall Telfer. While it is probably not a stretch to expect them to be better than the departed Jim Dray and Rob Housler, it is also important to remember that the goal is to be good at every position, not just better than the previous person holding the job.
The Browns hold 10 draft picks and they may look to add another pass-catching tight end to pair with Barnidge as an extra offensive threat. And if that player can lend a hand in the blocking department, an area where the tight ends suffered greatly in 2015, then that would be an added bonus.
And at some point during the second or third day of the 2016 NFL Draft, that player could be Stanford tight end Austin Hooper.
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