Cleveland Browns: Zach Banner is a good addition by the front office

(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns still needed offensive line help after the initial cuts. They added a developmental piece in Zach Banner off waivers on Monday.

After the initial 53-man roster cut down, it was clear the Cleveland Browns needed help at backup offensive tackle. Left on the roster was Roderick Johnson, who was injured against the Chicago Bears, and Zach Sterup, who looked less than stellar in that same game.

Helping to fill that need is the Browns’ most recent pickup from the waiver wire, Zach Banner.

Banner was a fourth-round pick by the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts, in a surprise move, cut Banner hoping to slide him onto the practice squad.

In a corresponding move, the Browns placed Roderick Johnson on injured reserve. The pickup of Banner effectively replaces Johnson’s spot on the roster with another developmental project. Still left on the roster is Zach Sterup, who becomes the only backup tackle with knowledge of Hue Jackson’s offense. With this, it will be a long shot to see the Browns make another move at offensive tackle.

This preseason, Banner has stood out for his pass blocking ability. Per Pro Football Focus, Banner was the sixth-best pass blocker this preseason. However, his run blocking was awful, offsetting his usefulness as a pass blocker.

The Browns are taking the chance that they can “fix” his issues in the run game. Primarily a run blocker in college, Banner’s huge 6-foot-8 frame was an advantage in run blocking but a disadvantage in pass blocking. In college, his huge frame made him susceptible to speed rushes. He also has weight issues ballooning up to 385 pounds in 2015.

Banner seems to have figured out the pass blocking piece but run blocking in the NFL has eluded him. The Browns are hedging their bets that Banner can keep his new-found pass blocking skills and recover the road-grater mentality that teams loved about him in the draft. The Browns are also gambling that their sports science department can get the bad weight off him and put on good weight.

Banner fits the mold of offensive tackle the Browns desire. He is a big frame with superior run blocking skills in college who will need to be taught how to pass block in the NFL.

Banner is the third such player to fit this mold after Shon Coleman and Roderick Johnson. Both Coleman and Johnson have progressed well for the Browns. It stands to reason that Banner will progress as well.

Next: Previewing Week 1 in the DPD Podcast

Welcome to Cleveland, Zach Banner!