Yesterday the Browns cut bait with yet another second-rounder from the 2009 NFL draft. First it was #52 overall David Veikune after he was beaten out by undrafted player, Marcus Benard. Now Brian Robiskie. The 36th overall pick was cut loose after a pretty disappointing career in Cleveland for a guy who was thought to be one of the more “NFL ready” prospects in the draft. At the time he was selected, the big controversy among Browns fans was that the team selected Robiskie with USC linebacker Rey Maualuga on the board. As we all know, Maualuga ended up going to the Bengals where even with some interesting off-field moments it is safe to say he has clearly been a better player. Now, all the Browns have left from a second round where they had three picks is #50 overall, Mohamed Massaquoi.
The Brian Robiskie story is still yet to be told, of course. We’ll have to see if he is able to go somewhere else and perform. After watching him the last couple years and seeing him in camp this pre-season, I have my doubts about him being able to become much more than a reserve. Many people including this writer preached patience with Robiskie because it routinely takes three years for a wide receiver to get it going in the NFL. The Browns apparently have no patience left.
This summer as the Browns were getting to work, the expectations and opportunity for Robiskie were high. The Browns were starting a new offense with Pat Shurmur that was supposed to be more friendly to receivers than the previous one run by Brian Daboll. Robiskie also had a chance to shine with the early injuries to #1 receiver Mohamed Massaquoi. What transpired was Robiskie getting muscled at the line of scrimmage by Sheldon Brown constantly and other names like Greg Little and Jordan Norwood ended up grabbing the available spotlight.
I won’t claim to know exactly what was going on with Brian Robiskie. Is he just soft? Did he feel entitled? Was he lazy? I honestly have no idea. What I know is that Robiskie seemed to lack any sense of urgency in drills all throughout training camp. Even when he would gain separation from his defender you couldn’t help but sense his nonchalance as he finished plays or ran back to the huddle. I wrote about how I thought Robiskie was going to lose his job and I wasn’t alone writing that. If anything it makes me wonder why it took Pat Shurmur multiple weeks of real live football to figure it out as Robiskie started the season atop the depth chart for #2 WR across from Massaquoi.
Much like David Veikune was marginalized by undrafted free agent Marcus Benard, this weekend, Jordan Norwood sealed Robiskie’s fate. While the Browns offense again struggled and Norwood didn’t exactly light up the box score, he did provide Colt McCoy some relief in the passing game. Norwood was quick in his routes and cuts and managed to create enough separation for the struggling McCoy to find him five times for 32 yards. With an offense as challenged as the Browns’ has been, that is a notable amount of production.
Notable amounts of production are a relative thing and ultimately Robiskie’s production was relatively little. Nobody was rooting harder for him than Browns fans, including many crossover fans who also root for the Buckeyes. It just didn’t work out. I hope he turns it around and finds a place to resurrect his career, but I can hardly blame the Browns for cutting him loose.