The Dawg Pound is going to love, absolutely love, blue-collar trench warrior Dalvin Tomlinson, who fills a huge need for the Cleveland Browns.
It's one thing to sign a free agent, but quite another to sign a player who is an established star at a position that was a total disaster area the previous season. Perhaps the single most disappointing position was defensive tackle, where the Browns drank the Kool-Aid, believing their young players were going to develop into true NFL linemen.
It just didn't happen. Defensive tackle was the weakest position on the field last season.
This time, Andrew Berry signed a true professional, the likes of which we have not seen since Sheldon Richardson left town. Tomlinson is going to dominate the middle of the field and punish defenses that double-team Myles Garrett. The Dawg Pound is thrilled to see him, and he is just as thrilled to meet the Dawg Pound. He posted a special greeting for his new fans, which DPD is pleased to re-post below.
This is a guy who gets it. He has been a warrior in the trenches, but he has also used his fame off the field. Tomlinson has devoted much of his off-the-field time to the Brighter Days Family Grief Center, an organization that provides support to children and adults who have a family member who have received a terminal medical diagnosis or who have recently passed on.
He's able to share his personal experiences concerning his mother's death due to diabetes when Tomlinson was a high school senior. In addition, his father passed away when he was only five years old, due to prostate cancer, so he is a volunteer for the American Cancer Society as well as the American Diabetes Association. He regularly visits Children's Hospitals. He is for real off the field as well as on it.
Last season, the NFL Players Association named him their Community MVP for Week 9, recognizing his charity work. He is a scary dude, to be sure, but his smile lights up the room as you can see from his Twitter greeting to the Dawg Pound. "You never know how many lives you can help in a positive way just by smiling,” he says. Truth!
On the field, Dalvin Tomlinson is going to be a hero. It's not that he's a Hall of Famer, but compared to what we are used to, he is way, way better.
Out of 150 interior linemen ranked by Pro Football Focus (so, let's say the top 64 would be nominally NFL first-string caliber and the top 128 or so would correspond to roughly second-string), the Browns' best lineman was Taven Bryan who was not in the top 64, or not quite first string.
Last season, the Browns had only two DTs over 300 pounds: Roderick Perry at 304 pounds and Jordan Elliott at 303 pounds, and all the other defensive tackles weighed less than 300 pounds.
Then they wonder why they can't stop the run. In theory, the lightweight defensive tackles are supposed to be more mobile, but in practice, they just got run over. The Browns list Tomlinson at 317 pounds, though he was listed at 325 pounds at Minnesota.
Last season, the Browns gave up short yardage up the middle consistently, and sometimes gave up big yardage. That's going to stop with Tomlinson there to plug up the middle, aided and abetted by Ogbo Okoronkwo and of course Myles Garrett.
However, the Browns aren't done yet. They still need to add another defensive tackle, perhaps via the draft, plus the second string needs to show improvement. Tomlinson will be the anchor in the middle. Welcome to the Dawg Pound Mr. Tomlinson.