Virtual unknown running back McCrary may be a Browns training camp surprise

A player rejected by the Ravens after leading them in rushing yards in the 2021 preseason wants a second shot with the Cleveland Browns. He may get it.

Aug 21, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA;  Baltimore Ravens running back Nate McCrary (18) with
Aug 21, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Nate McCrary (18) with / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

What about it, Believeland, are you willing to believe that a running back from little Saginaw Valley State University has a shot to make the Cleveland Browns after being cut twice by the big, bad Baltimore Ravens?

There's a case to be made for the candidacy of Nate McCrary. Let's look at his career, winding the clock backward.

He spent the past two training camps with the Ravens and performed well. In his 2021 rookie campaign, he led the Ravens in preseason rushing yards with 42 carries for 163 yards (3.88 yards/carry) and a touchdown. He added three catches in four targets and 34 yards.

In college, in his last season at Division II Saginaw Valley State, McCrary racked up 1,060 yards on 167 rushes (6.35 yards/carry) and scored 10 touchdowns in 11 games.

Below is a compilation of McCrary's Pro Day scores compared to Combine times for Nick Chubb, now-departed Kareem Hunt, Jerome Ford, Demetric Felton, John Kelly Jr., and rookie Hassan Hall.

Although 40-yard-dash time is often used as the gold standard for pre-draft measurables, the 10-yard dash is very important for running backs, especially in short yardage. Both 10-yard and 40-yard times are listed, along with each player's weight.

That allows us to calculate the player's average velocity over that 10-yard interval (in meters per second or miles per hour), as well as the kinetic energy, KE = 0.5* m * v^2, converted to kilowatts. In physics terms, kinetic energy is the ability to do work, such as moving a heavy object (like a big fat defensive lineman) out of the way.

What's interesting is that McCrary's kinetic energy score at 10 yards is higher than anyone else's, including Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. That might lead us to think that McCrary might be able to earn a living between the tackles.

Interestingly, Hunt's score was slightly better than Chubb's at 10 yards, which may explain why the Browns used him in short yardage instead of Chubb. Chubb, however, was totally dominant at 40 yards, partly because of his size and also his top gear. Many of us so-called experts believe Chubb got faster in 2018 as he continued to strengthen his surgically repaired knee.

We can see why Jerome Ford is the number one contender to replace Hunt. He has a 10-yard KE number just a shade lower than Chubb's. Ford also looks excellent at 40 yards, even better than Hunt. That actually makes some sense also, because we know that he can return kickoffs. But holy cow! McCrary just really stands out at 10 yards. If these Pro Day numbers are to be believed, McCrary may deserve to get his shot with the Browns.

Watcha got, kid?

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