Connor Davis is Cleveland Browns answer to Tim Tebow

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 22: Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets during warm ups before the start of their game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium on November 22, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 22: Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the New York Jets during warm ups before the start of their game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium on November 22, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns have added an unknown tight end to their roster with only 41 more career receiving yards than Tim Tebow.

Like the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Cleveland Browns have added their own improbable tight end to the roster. Meet Connor Davis, the newest Cleveland Brown.

Unlike tight end Tim Tebow, who has earned a tryout with the Jacksonville Jaguars and his former coach, Urban Meyer, Davis is totally anonymous but his presence on the Browns’ roster is equally puzzling.

Fortunately, there’s no horde of national media writers demanding the dismissal of the Browns front office for this promotion, nor should there be. There are 90 roster spots in the summer and only 53 will be carried into the regular season.

There’s room for a few way-out experiments. If the general manager or the coach thinks there is a chance John Daly can help the team, I’ve got no problem giving him a tryout in summer camp. You can always cut him if it does not work out.

For that matter using a first-round draft pick on an unsuccessful 28-year-old minor league baseball player to play quarterback is a much more serious problem than giving a tryout on the 90-player roster to a 34-year-old minor league baseball player as tight end prospect who costs nothing.

The Browns actually did that when they drafted Brandon Weeden. Takeaway: do crazy experiments with minimum-salary free agents, NOT first-round draft picks. Jeez, do sportswriters really need to explain this to the professionals?

Tebow, at least, was considered to be one of the greatest college football players in history. In the NFL, his quarterbacking record was only 8-6 with just one playoff win. Obviously, he stinks, so they got him out of there.

His athletic skill set translated better to tight end or fullback in the NFL, but he opted to play professional baseball instead but was not any better than Michael Jordan. Even an all-time great college football player cannot possibly help the powerhouse Jacksonville Jaguars, and letting Tebow do push-ups in summer camp could very easily derail their Super Bowl drive. Have I got that right?

Okay, so we’re all on board with hating Tim Tebow, and giving him a tryout is an enormously significant event, probably more significant than signing that long-haired quarterback from Clemson, Lawrence, or whatever his name is. If the Jags do not win Super Bowl LVI, it will be Tebow’s fault.

As for Connor Davis, according to the website of the Stony Brook University Seawolves of the Colonial Athletic Association (NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision), Davis played five years for the Seawolves including a redshirt year.

As a redshirt freshman in 2013, he was the backup tight end and also played defensive end and had a sack. The next season, he had two starts at defensive end and made two tackles before getting injured. The following year, he switched to right tackle and started ten games. As a senior in 2017, he went back to his utility role, starting one game at defensive line and mostly playing backup tight end.

For his career, he had six catches for 41 yards. That is six more catches and 41 more yards than Tebow ever had.

In the 2018 draft, however, the Browns selected Baker Mayfield first overall instead of Connor Davis. In fact, he was not drafted in the first round by any team. Or the second. Or any round.

However, he did get a minicamp tryout with the Giants but was not selected.

The next year, he tried out with the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football and made the team. That team, by the way, had former Brown Trent Richardson on it, as well as current Cleveland Brown Michael Dunn, who was a late-season addition to the offensive line last season.

They also had J.C. Hassenauer, who figures to be the starting center for the Pittsburgh Steelers this season. At any rate, Davis had three catches for a whopping nine yards, not quite setting the league on fire, but nevertheless, he became a true professional football player.

Subsequent to the lamented demise of that league, Davis caught on with the St. Louis Battlehawks of the XFL, only to have that league go into limbo due to Covid-19. He did get into one game, but generated no stats.

Davis spent Weeks 11-17 on the Jets’ practice squad in 2020. He has paid his dues, laboring in anonymity at the fringes of the Pro game.

So why are the pros interested in a fellow who has exactly 50 receiving yards to his name since high school? It sounds like a conspiracy. But he must have something to make an NFL practice team, even the lowly 2020 Jets.

For one thing, he is 6-foot-8 and 271 pounds. He is a blue-collar, run-blocking tight end, not necessarily a receiving threat. He is also the subject of an infomercial that claims that he has made impressive athletic performance gains since his Pro Day, particularly in the broad jump.

He was just not a great athlete in college and not a dominant player. But athletes do not reach their peak right out of college, except for Tim Tebow. They get better year to year. It is normal for a player to make huge gains in skill level from age 21 to 26, and some players make gains in strength as well.

It would be very interesting if the Pros kept stats on Pro Day measurements as athletes age. Some players might surprise us and continue to improve for several years. Maybe Davis is one of those players.

In a 2018 interview, Davis described the important traits for the tight end position,

"” You have to be ready to do the dirty work. You have to do what’s necessary for the team to get the first down. You might run a five-yard stick route or a 10-yard dig route on one play. Then you would drive a 285-pound DE out of the way on the next play.” — Connor Davis, as told to Alex Khvatov of NFL Draft Blitz"

Truthfully, the Browns need another tight end like a hole in the head. It starts with Austin Hooper, who is one of the highest-paid tight ends in the NFL. David Njoku emerged from Freddie Kitchens’ dog house last year and was graded higher than Hooper, but seems to attract more than his share of critics. If you believe PFF, or if you just watch a little film, it is easy to see that Njoku is one of the most improved blockers in the league.

Harrison Bryant was extremely impressive for a rookie. The Browns probably did not want to draft a tight end, but felt he was the best athlete available in Round 4 last year. Stephen Carlson is the fourth tight end. The Browns seem to like him also. Four tight end slots pretty much fill up a normal roster, especially since they also carry a fullback.

Nevertheless, assuming a roster spot were to open up, could you potentially see a spot for a player like Connor Davis on the short-yardage team? The Browns have carried five tight ends at times.

Next. 3 Day three picks that could help in 2021. dark

It’s a longshot, if not a miracle, but miracles do happen in the NFL, and maybe Tim Tebow fans, in their prayers for supplication offered on behalf of their hero, can add a good word for Davis as well.