Browns TE Seth DeValve will head to training camp next month after a strong offseason. “Most of his development in the offseason was that he put on a little weight, he is noticeably stronger, he is faster and he is healthier,” TEs coach Greg Seamon said at the end of June minicamp. “His ability to run routes, catch the ball, leave his feet, catch the ball away from his body and he has a big catch radius, I think those things are showing up out here." DeValve finished with just 10 catches for 127 yards and 2 scores last year, but the quiet season wasn't a surprise. He was a 4th-round rookie out of Princeton playing in a bad Browns offense. DeValve is a 6'2, 244-pounder who registered a 96th percentile SPARQ score last year, though, so there's upside here. David Njoku remains the favorite to leads Browns TEs in targets this season. But we know that rookie TEs tend to struggle. DeValve is worth monitoring, especially in dynasty leagues.
The Browns like what they've seen from 2nd-year WR Ricardo Louis this offseason. "He has really improved," HC Hue Jackson said. "Now he lines up at the line of scrimmage and hears the play and sees the defense and recognizes the coverage, he goes 100 miles per hour," WRs coach Al Saunders added. "He's a talented young man." Louis was raw coming out of Auburn last year and finished with just 18 catches for 205 scoreless yards as a rookie. But he goes 6'2, 215 pounds and tested as an 88th percentile athletic. This is an intriguing dynasty stash, but Louis will need a Kenny Britt or Corey Coleman injury to have a shot at real fantasy value in 2017.
Browns QB DeShone Kizer rotated in with the 1st-team offense at Tuesday's minicamp practice. HC Hue Jackson downplayed the development afterward. “That’s the way it’s been since OTAs have started," Jackson said. "We’re just mixing and matching and giving guys opportunities. As I told you, I’m going to find out about guys, that’s what I have to do over these next couple of days before we go to training camp." Fair. But Kizer has been buzzing over the past month. Insider Mary Kay Cabot says the rookie has "displayed excellent physical skills and he’s picking up the offense quickly." Kizer is a strong bet to make starts this season and could even end up leading the 2017 Browns in pass attempts.
Browns HC Hue Jackson told the team website that QB Brock Osweiler "has been a pleasant surprise" so far. “Since he has been here, he has been outstanding," Jackson said. "Everybody has a reputation before them. His was a little bit different. He’s not any of that, that we saw. The guy has been outstanding in our building, and I think that’s what is most important.” There should be a fairly open competition at QB in Cleveland this summer, with Cody Kessler as the early favorite. We'll see where this goes.
Browns WR Corey Coleman is dealing with a "sore hamstring," a source tells insider Mary Kay Cabot. It's in addition to the injury Coleman suffered in an OTA workout last week. The hamstring is particularly worrisome, though. Coleman was redshirted as a freshman at Baylor because of hamstring trouble, missed 3 games with a hamstring injury in 2014 and sat out the first 2 preseason games last year with a bum hammy. He also played through a groin injury in 2015 that eventually required sports hernia surgery. Durability is a real concern here. Coleman will be held out of the rest of spring workouts but is tentatively expected to be ready for the start of training camp.
The Browns might hold WR Corey Coleman out of action until training camp begins after a recent fall while going for a pass in an OTA practice, according to Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot. "Right now I'm going to keep him out for a little while and again, that was a tough spill for him,'' said Jackson. "A little tougher than I thought but he's making his way through. You know Corey. He wants to be back out there right now but I just think now is the time if a guy is kind of banged up a little bit to make sure they take care of him so that we get him back for training camp." It's not yet clear what kind of injury Coleman might be dealing with, but it also doesn't seem too worrisome for now. We'll keep an eye out for any updates as OTAs pass and we get closer to camp.
Per NFL Network and other outlets, suspended Browns WR Josh Gordon was denied reinstatement by the NFL. Out of football since 2014, Gordon can apply again in the fall. He remains a shaky bet to ever return to the NFL following several punishments under the league’s substance-abuse policy.
Browns RB Isaiah Crowell signed his restricted free agent tender Wednesday. That's not a surprising move, given the lack of interest from potential suitors (who would have had to give a 2nd-round pick) this offseason. It locks Crowell in with Cleveland for at least the coming season, though. And the 2 sides reportedly started the offseason interested in a longer-term deal. We'll see what comes of that. As it is, Crowell will head into 2017 as the clear lead runner for the Browns and an upside fantasy football option. He ranked 9th in the league with 4.8 yards per carry in 2016.
The Browns nabbed Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer with the 52nd pick of the draft. Kizer is a big dude (6’4, 233 pounds) and might have the most pure arm talent in this year’s QB class. But he’s more project than NFL-ready prospect at this point. Kizer’s accuracy comes and goes — evidenced by his 60.7% completion rate over 2 years at Notre Dame. His footwork needs fixing. And his decision-making is inconsistent. Hopefully the Browns let him sit a year — they’re not going to win many games in 2017 anyway — and refine his game. Kizer immediately becomes the best talent in Cleveland’s QB room, though, so it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to see him make starts this year.
The Browns plan to play 1st-round pick Jabrill Peppers at SS, while also finding him roles on offense and special teams, according to beat writer Scott Petrak. Peppers grabbed just 1 INT over 3 years at Michigan but displayed impressive versatility. That included spending most of his junior season at LB. Don't be surprised to see Peppers in the box often, which should help his tackle numbers. He'll certainly be worth a look in IDP drafts -- whether you're playing dynasty or redraft.
The Browns acquired the 29th overall pick from the Packers — their 3rd first rounder — and selected Miami TE David Njoku. Njoku might have even more pass-catching upside than O.J. Howard. He broke out for a 43-698-8 line this past season, averaging a ludicrous 11.2 yards after the catch. He goes 6’4, 246 pounds and crushed the Combine, earning a 97th percentile SPARQ score. And he doesn’t turn 21 until July. We wouldn’t bet on Njoku emerging as a major fantasy factor on the rebuilding Browns this year, but there’s huge long-term upside here.
The Browns spent their 2nd pick of Round 1 on Michigan's Jabrill Peppers. A safety primarily, Peppers lined up at 15 different positions over the 2016 season, according to ESPN. He'll likely play safety almost exclusively in Cleveland. Peppers grabbed just 1 INT over 3 seasons with the Wolverines but also delivered 13 tackles for loss as a LB last year, including 3 sacks. There's IDP upside as long as Peppers' name doesn't boost his fantasy ADP too high.
The Browns defied the storylines and chose Texas A&M DE Myles Garrett 1st in the 2017 NFL Draft. Garrett will likely play an OLB spot for Cleveland, which dings his IDP value a bit. But he certainly has the talent to deliver plenty of fantasy football production there. He should also have a clear path to lots of immediate playing time. Expect Garrett to sit near the top among defensive players when our dynasty rookie rankings hit the site.
The Titans this week dumped veteran CB Jason McCourty. The 29-year-old (30 in October) spent 8 seasons in Tennessee but lost 16 games to injury over the past 2 years. He's likely to find a new landing spot fairly easily in a league always hungry for solid CBs. We'll see whether that new home keeps McCourty in a full-time role and supports his consistent IDP value.
Browns HC Hue Jackson said at NFL league meetings this week of WR Corey Coleman, "I think he’s going to take the next jump this year.” According to the team website, Jackson added that “he’s worked extremely hard thus far this offseason, and he wants to come in and prove that last year was just what it was, his first year in the league and then he needed to understand what this league was all about." It's certainly not news that the Browns are expecting a significant contribution from their 2016 first-round pick. But it's encouraging to hear Jackson speak highly of the youngster. Coleman should face plenty of opportunity in 2017 -- at least on the volume front. We'll see exactly who will be throwing him the ball before projecting his fantasy football outlook.
The Browns will acquire QB Brock Osweiler and a 2018 2nd round draft pick from the Texans. The move clears $16 million in salary from Houston's books, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Browns are now expected to move on from QB Robert Griffin III, leaving them with Osweiler and Cody Kessler atop the depth chart. We wouldn't anoint Osweiler as the Week 1 starter -- Cleveland will certainly still add a QB in the 2017 draft -- but a massive contract gives him another chance to rehab his image. Of course, that won't be easy after a rough 2016, one that included 15 TDs, 16 INTs and a 59% completion rate. We'll also see if Houston can acquire QB Tony Romo from Dallas.
Update: Schefter and Rapoport report that the Browns are considering a release or a trade of Osweiler. Stay tuned as more details roll in.
The Browns signed WR Kenny Britt to a 4-year, $32.5 million deal, reports ESPN's Adam Caplan. So Britt heads from a Rams squad that finished 31st in passing yards last year to a Browns team that ranked 28th. He's a glutton for punishment. Britt, of course, managed a 26th-place PPR finish despite his poor situation last year. We'll see who ends up chucking him the rock in Cleveland, but Britt is capable of at least another WR3-level season in 2017. His arrival means the Browns are unlikely to re-sign WR Terrelle Pryor. It'll be Britt and Corey Coleman in the starting lineup.
Texans QB Brock Osweiler will start Saturday's playoff opener against the Raiders, HC Bill O'Brien announced on Tuesday. QB Tom Savage (concussion) is iffy to be cleared in time. And even if he was, he'd miss most or all of this week of practice. So Houston goes back to Osweiler, who finished the regular season with a 59% completion rate, 5.8 yards per attempt, 15 TDs and 16 INTs. He fared OK vs. Oakland back in Week 11, going 26 of 39 for 243 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.
Titans CB Jason McCourty (chest) is inactive for today's finale against the Texans.
Rams WR Kenny Britt (shoulder) is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals after missing practice all week. Los Angeles will trot out Tavon Austin, Brian Quick and Pharoh Cooper as its top 3 WRs in the finale.
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