The Cleveland Browns claimed Gabe Ikard off waivers from Buffalo. His claim is insightful as to how the front office approaches the center position.
The Cleveland Browns picked up Gabe Ikard off waivers from the Buffalo Bills. Ikard gives the Browns a solid natural backup center to Cam Erving. As the center position is the Browns’ black hole of death, the more natural centers the Browns can put on their roster the better.
The middle of the offensive line has been a merry-go-round for the Browns this season. For all the talk of the number of quarterbacks the Browns have used this season, flying under the radar is the fact that the Browns have used three different centers this season. The Browns have used four different guards over both positions. The interior of the offensive line needs stabilizing.
Now, Gabe Ikard enters the fray. Ikard follows in the footsteps of one-game legend Austin Reiter, who solidified the center position before tearing his ACL forcing his early ride into the sunset.
In many ways, Gabe Ikard is similar to Austin Reiter. Like Reiter, Ikard is a very smart player. He can recognize defenses, make play calls and set protections. And like Reiter, he needs to grow physically stronger in order to play the position.
Ikard is also a smaller player who may be limited in athleticism. Statements about athleticism should be taken with a grain of salt. There are multiple ways of evaluating athleticism.
Interestingly enough, Ikard and Reiter have similar 3-Cone drill (Reiter 7.65, Ikard 7.30) and 20-yard shuttle times (Reiter 4.53, Ikard 4.37). These statistics generally measure quickness and ability to change directions. These are skills directly related to offensive line play. The Browns may be using these measurables as key performance indicators.
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
Interestingly, both Reiter and Ikard excel where Cam Erving struggles. Ikard’s and Reiter’s strengths lie in their ability to identify fronts, make pass protection calls and set blocking schemes. Erving struggles in these areas.
Erving is physically able to handle the center position. However, he struggles with technique. Ikard seems to struggle with the physical aspects of the game. However, he is technically sound enough to find a way to get the blocks done according to the NFL’s pre-draft scouting report.
All of this to say, Erving either does not fit the model of what the Browns are looking for in a center or they are looking to find a certain type of center in response to their struggles with Erving.
Good luck Gabe Ikard. You will be playing soon. And watch out for that right tackle, he has been known to throw defenders into the center’s knees.