Longshot quarterback David Blough fighting for a Cleveland Browns roster spot
Ex-Purdue Boilermaker quarterback David Blough has signed with the Cleveland Browns, where he seeks to earn a roster spot as the third string quarterback.
David Blough (rhymes with “plow” in case you are wondering) was not selected in the 2019 NFL Draft and has been signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cleveland Browns. The odds are against him ever throwing a pass in an NFL game. But sometimes grit, determination, moxie and brains can overcome the odds.
First of all, Blough has not been signed to compete against Baker Mayfield. But you still need to have at least one backup on the 53-man roster, a third quarterback who could be the 53rd player or perhaps make it as a player on the practice squad. Blough probably has a fairly good chance to make it.
Ahead of him are Garrett Gilbert, the high school teammate of Mayfield, and 34-year-old Drew Stanton. Stanton has completed only 52.4 percent of his passes in his career, but he has gone 11-6 as a starter in the NFL, so he is probably going to be around to collect on the final year of his Browns contract.
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Gilbert has thrown only three passes in his NFL career, but as the top passer in the defunct Alliance of American Football, he may have some life in him yet.
Blough can be criticized for being too short. At 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, he is about the same size as another Browns quarterback that Colin Cowherd considered undraftable. They also say he does not have an NFL arm.
He played for a rebuilding Purdue team that went 2-10 in 2015, his freshman year, and was only 6-7 in his senior year. But he threw for 3,705 yards and 25 touchdowns versus 10 interceptions and a rating of 146.9. In addition, buzz is that the Purdue training staff was able to correct a tendinitis problem, and by mid-season he started having success throwing the ball downfield. Perhaps if that tendinitis issue can be kept under control, he might have a bigger arm than people think. That is a big “if,” but an important one.
Blough is remembered by Boilermaker fans for many peak moments, but especially one that came in the face of tragedy. He suffered a severe ankle injury that ended his 2017 season versus Illinois. While being taken away on the back of an ambulance, the Boilermakers scored and Blough raised both arms signalling “touchdown” for the fans. Let’s just say the young man is going to be tough enough and does not stay down for very long.
Blough is the fourth leading passer in Purdue history with 9,734 yards, behind Mark Herrmann, Curtis Painter, and a fellow named Drew Brees, who turned out to be pretty good despite his small size. Statistically, he did a very good job for a team that overall was not as talented as some of the others in the Big 10.
Blough is also a four-time Academic All-Big 10 and is pursuing a master’s degree in health and kinesiology. There is something going on upstairs. At quarterback it’s probably as much about being able to handle the mental aspect as the physical.
No Boilermakers were invited to the NFL Combine in 2019, which means that perhaps the overall talent level is still not very high in that program. The case that it was a team burgeoning with talent and was held back by the quarterback. They did figure out how to thump Ohio State by 29 points last year, although in other games they were terrible, quite frankly, getting blown out by Auburn 63-14 during bowl season.
Tom Dienhart of GoldandBlack.com has had some great interviews with Blough, including after his signing with the Browns. Among other things, Blough told him that the Browns and Detroit Lions were the teams that showed the most interest in him. Browns assistant general manager Eliot Wolf may have been the key to persuading him to accept the Browns offer.
"“We knew from the beginning it was a good fit… I was impressed with what they were trying to build, and they wanted me to be a part of it.”“I am gonna prove Cleveland right and I am gonna prove to those who believed in me to be right.”"