The Cleveland Browns have begun signing their draft picks, inking seventh-round running back Matthew Dayes to a contract.
The Cleveland Browns have signed running back Matthew Dayes, a seventh-round pick by the team in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Dayes played four years for North Carolina State, finishing with 34 career rushing touchdowns and 5.2 yards per carry. During his senior year in 2016, he rushed for 1,166 yards and 10 touchdowns.
According to his draft profile at NFL.com, Dayes is a:
"Tempo-based, one-cut running back with good vision but an inability to break tackles and run with power. Best on outside zone plays with an opportunity to find back-side cuts, but when he has to run between the tackles, he’s missing an aggressive burst. Potentially a committee running back with some third-down value if he can tighten up his pass blocking."
Some draft analysts had Dayes targeted as high as the fourth round, but his draft stock may have slipped following a series of disappointing results at the annual Scouting Combine and his Pro Day at North Carolina State, according to The News & Observer in Raleigh.
The article quoted NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein as pointing out that Dayes does not have a singular quality that sets him apart:
"“Size? Average. His speed? Below average. But he’s a good running back. See that’s the thing. He’s a solid running back I just don’t know if there’s anything special enough about him that’s going to differentiate him in the NFL level to keep him from being other than just a guy who fights for a spot on the practice squad.”"
The best role for the 5-foot-9 and 205-pound Dayes may be as a third-down back in the passing game, but as that role is already sufficiently filled by Duke Johnson, who combined with Isaiah Crowell to help the Browns hit a 50-year high in rushing average in 2016.
It could be hard for Dayes to find many opportunities to impresses the coaches, so he needs to make the most of every chance he has if he wants to claim the the running back spot on the roster.