Cleveland Browns: Can E.J. Bibbs break out in 2016?


The Cleveland Browns are looking for playmakers on offense. Can second-year tight end E.J. Bibbs help fill the role in 2016?

The search for big-play threats on the offensive side of the football is a process which seems to be never ending for the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns have been relentless in their efforts to acquire position playmakers on offense for several seasons, and with the possible exception of Josh Gordon, have not yet found a player who has made this desired impact. Though much of this pursuit has come through the seven rounds in the NFL Draft, little success has come by these means.

Free agency has also not often served the Browns well in the past few seasons, typically acquiring players who are later released, such as Miles Austin or Brian Hartline.

This season as the Browns peruse their options, it appears that the most potential comes from within. Sure, the Browns made a big splash on offense by drafting Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman, and signing a young quarterback who has experience starting in the NFL in Robert Griffin III. But the Browns will still need more from the offense, they will need many others to contribute.

Seasoned veterans can only bring the Browns a small amount of success on their own, and while Gary Barnidge surprised the NFL with his breakout year last season, the Browns still finished 3-13. Improvement this year is partially dependent on the production the Browns can get from playmaking positions on offense.

The Browns roster may have an abundance of receivers, due in part to this year’s draft, but a lot of the offensive potential is already on the roster in the form of second-year tight ed E.J. Bibbs.

Bibbs, an undrafted free agent, recorded only one reception in his rookie season, gaining a grand total of seven yards. On the surface, Bibbs may not seem like a top candidate to be a break out offensive machine. However, his 6-foot-2, 258-pound frame is menacing to any defense, and his blocking skills have been on display since his career at Iowa State.

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A large tight end who can block, run routes and catch at the NFL level should be a valuable asset to a Browns organization that is so desperately craving an offensive spark. Bibbs’ experience, though brief, also should be helpful considering the rest of the players on offense the Browns are placing their hope in have even less experience.

If offensive-minded head coach Hue Jackson can successfully assimilate Bibbs into his offensive scheme, the Browns could find another very productive tight end on the roster. The depth at this position is critical, and Bibbs certainly has the skill to take on a larger role in the Browns offense.

Many will doubt Bibbs’ potential, as they were skeptical of him last season. Still, Bibbs has overcome odds before, as most thought he wouldn’t make the 53-man roster in his rookie season. Maybe the Iowa State standout can once again make his presence felt, but this time on an NFL field.

If that is the case, the Browns will be fortunate to have another young weapon on offense who can help transform this organization’s recent woes into a successful 2016 season.

Next: Excitement level low for the Browns?

Does E.J. Bibbs have enough to earn a prominent role in the Browns offense this season?