Even with one of the best tight ends in the NFL, the Cleveland Browns decided to sign Jordan Akins to a two-year deal worth $5.2 million. The main reason they wanted to add Akins to a tight end corps that already included Njoku and Harrison Bryant is his connection with Deshaun Watson.
The two were teammates with the Houston Texans and it's already clear that they're still on the same page. Early in camp, Watson has shown no hesitancy to throw the ball in the direction of No. 84. On Thursday, Akins let everyone see why he has the quarterback's trust when he made the best catch we've seen in camp so far.
Akins, who was blanketed by rookie safety Tanner McCalister, reached around the defensive back to haul in the contested pass.
The video quickly made the rounds on social media, and for good reason.
Browns could have a special red zone offense
Cleveland's move to add Akins has been largely overlooked this offseason but that's not likely to be the case when the regular season begins. They already have one massive target in the 6-foot-4, 247-pound Njoku, and have added Akins who stands 6-foot-4 and 245-pounds. Then, there's Harrison Bryant, who is 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds.
Akins is also coming off his beast season as a pro, hauling in 37 receptions for 495 yards with five touchdowns.
Cleveland, who is expected to go with more three-receiver sets this year, will have the ability to roll out a jumbo set with their three tight ends which will be incredibly tough to defend. Not only will there be huge bodies that can help clear the way for Nick Chubb — who is the best running back in the NFL — but if teams sell out on the run, all three tight ends are very athletic with great hands.
That's going to be a problem for opposing defenses, which is exactly what general manager Andrew Berry was hoping for.