A 31-14 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals was how the Cleveland Browns regular season ended. Without any context, that might seem like a concerning loss but that wasn't the case. With their spot in the playoffs locked up, the Browns rested their top players and even went with Jeff Driskel under center.
After a slow start, Driskel hit David Bell for a couple of touchdowns late in the game. Perhaps that was enough for him to move into the QB2 role or maybe they'll stick with P.J. Walker who was the backup before Driskel arrived.
What we do know is that several players were given a chance to prove themselves in the finale. Some rose to the occasion — including Bell and defensive end Alex Wright. Others left something to be desired. Here, we look at the latter with three players who don't need to see the field in the postseason.
3. Jordan Akins, TE
Cleveland has one of the best tight ends in the NFL right now in David Njoku. The seventh-year tight end had career highs in receptions (81), yardage (882), and touchdowns (6). Cleveland hoped they would be able to go two deep when it came to receiving threats at the position after signing Jordan Akins this offseason to pair with the explosive Njoku.
Akins was unable to live up to expectations and entered this one with just 12 receptions for 108 yards with no touchdowns. In Week 18, he started with Njoku resting and should have been seen as a safety valve for Jeff Driskel — especially since they played together in Houston.
He did have a season-high three receptions for 24 yards but he had two drops and struggled with blocking. Akins might wind up being a cap casualty in the offseason and right now, it makes more sense to play Harrison Bryant over him. The fourth-year tight end might not be a game-breaker but he's been able to step up when needed, especially in the red zone.