2016 Browns Rookies: The Meh Club

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

One of the glimmers of hope for the 2016 Cleveland Browns was that the team had 14 rookie players selected from the NFL Draft. The Browns front office is banking on those rookies forming the foundation upon which to build a new era of successful Browns football.

One season is an incredibly small sample size especially for players new to the NFL. Still, the collection of draft picks by the Harvard Brain Trust has left Browns fans saying a collective “Meh” thus far.

Best hopes for star players

Emmanual Ogbah is one player that might need an exclusion from this discussion. After having a few good moments early in the season, Ogbah broke out over the last few weeks when defensive co-ordinator Ray Horton started moving him around and giving him more responsibilities. His strength was his ability to get into the backfield as his six sacks and numerous quarterback hurries demonstrated. He finished fourth among all rookies in sacks for 2016 and fourth in tackles for a rookie defensive end. There are still some lingering concerns as 3.5 of his sacks came against one team (two games versus Cincinnati Bengals).

Corey Coleman had a disappointing year especially after a big Week 2 five reception, 104 yard game against the Baltimore Ravens. Coleman would miss the next six weeks and never match those numbers (three receptions, 41 yards would be his game high after returning from injury). He would even show some frustration to the media when he noted the problems of having so many different quarterbacks. Still, he has a potentially good skill set that could be refined to make him worth that first-round pick.

At least they got playing time

Cody Kessler wound up having a better season statistically than both the Top 2 picks in the NFL Draft; Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Both of those quarterbacks still have a much higher ceiling than Kessler, who had issues making plays down the field. But, for one season, he can say with confidence that the only rookie quarterback that was better than him was Dak Prescott.


Carl Nassib had sacks in both the first and last week of the season, but only a half sack the rest of the year. After many hoping he could show up as a mid-round steal, Nassib was largely invisible on the field on the whole the vast majority of the season.

Joe Schobert wants to prove he can be consistent. Sure, he only had 11 tackles on the season, but they came in eight different games. He was active and appears he can be a useful backup but expecting anything more might be folly.

Ricardo Louis was the best of the late-round wide receiver picks. He returned kicks and he caught more passes than any other rookie outside Coleman. Of course, that still only netted him 18 for the year. After a somewhat promising four-game set from Week 3 through Week 6, he struggled before being phased out of the passing game.

Derrick Kindred arrived early in the year by laying some hard hits on opponents. It was obvious early on that coverage would not be his forte, but, man, he can lay some licks. The problem is that Horton’s schemes often utilize both safeties in rotating roles, which put him in precarious positions for his skillset.

Seth Devalve can bank on the fact that learning tight end at the NFL is a difficult proposition that can take some time to master. There was still some hope he could provide more in the passing game though he was the offensive version of Schobert. He might not have put up big stats (10 receptions on the season) but he caught a pass in each of the last seven games for the Browns.

Spencer Drango was the offensive version of Kindred in that he had an obvious strong suit (run-blocking), but his weakness (pass-blocking) was a big part of the required job.

Not sure how to evaluate players who didn’t play

Rashard Higgins and Jordan Payton couldn’t beat out Ricardo Louis or Andrew Hawkins for playing time, so they did not see the field much.

Shon Coleman couldn’t beat out Austin Pasztor, Spencer Drango, Alvin Bailey, Cam Erving, or Jonathan Cooper for playing time. An Erving injury in Week 17 finally saw him get his first extensive look at right tackle. He did not fare terribly, but one half of football does not a season make.

Gone before we got to know them

Trey Caldwell and Scooby Wright were cut.

stats courtesy of

stats courtesy of

  • tigersbrowns2
  • Saggy
  • Garry_Owen
  • woofersus

    Gosh, I don’t think any of those guys fits very well at SOLB. Orchard and Nassib aren’t fast enough. (Nassib is too big anyway) In fact, I think both of them would benefit from the shift to 4-3 end.

  • woofersus

    Haden has been super disappointing since he signed his big contract, but I think his health has been a big part of the problem. There’s still hope he can be a high quality CB again, IMO. (but likely not a level that warrants his salary, mind you)

  • mgbode

    in a perfect world, sure. we are stuck with a 1-15 roster. not sure we can plug all the holes in year 1 and we need somebody to start there

  • woofersus

    Yep, and I think you and I both know who that means will be lining up on the strong side next season. 🙁

  • mgbode

    Chris Tabor?

  • paulbip

    Scooby was not cut. All are busts except Ogbah. The Browns had better take impact players this year. How about Garrett or Allen and then that DE from Stanford. A new DC and a professional DL finally.

  • mgbode

    Scooby was “waived” then signed to the Practice Squad, which any team can steal him from. The AZ Cardinals signed him away.

    To me, players that didn’t make the 53-man roster were cut regardless of official wording.

  • Believelander

    Honestly, if they had re-signed Mitchell Schwartz instead of letting a young player who is arguably the best at his position walk away for a relatively small contract in KC, I would be really bull on this front office. Griffin III was 100% worth kicking the tires on and cost us little if he sucked. The draft class hasn’t had any huge breakouts, but nor was it an instant disappointment. Cody Kessler, for all he isn’t, is going to be a guy capable of competently running an NFL offense. Terrelle Pryor is presumably going to be part of the long-term plan. We have Philly’s #1 draft pick, and came really close to having it be in the top 8 picks if not for Philly wrecking it up for us the last two weeks. They picked up a strong, young linebacker in Jamie Collins for a third-rounder (as long as they keep him).

    But having the #1, #12, #33, and #51 in the draft is big, big, huge. I agree with you 100% that they need to go for the best players they can find. If they kill it this draft, the Browns could be stacked for years to come. If they screw this one up, well…the more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • Believelander

    But man, if Ogbah ends up shining and we pick up Myles Garrett…

  • Believelander

    Is it too much to ask for Myles Garrett AND Johnathan Allen?

  • Believelander

    A mediocre stat. INT% is a much more valuable one.

  • Believelander

    It’s not as great of a stat because it’s so heavily influenced by system, scheme, chance, and the quality of your running backs and wide receivers. Obviously it is also influenced by the quality of your quarterback.

    INT%, on the other hand, is very indicative. That’s not to say that the quality of wideouts and running backs doesn’t influence INT% at all, but not much. If a guy has a high INT% it’s because he throws a lot of INTs.

    But the reason to track INT% and TD% is so that you can get an accurate gauge of comparative performance from two guys with a large discrepancy in how many passes they’ve actually thrown.

  • Believelander

    “he was under more pressure”

    First Understatement of the Year candidate for 2017 right there.

  • tigersbrowns2

    no it’s not … we have the ammo & if they truly wanted to do this , they might be able to pull it off.

  • mgbode

    it is a tough one there though as Philly’s OL wasn’t good either. I would have to break down how many times Kessler just held onto the ball too long (as he does at times) versus Wentz, etc. More nuance to it there.

  • mgbode

    probably too much to get, but you can always ask

  • Pat Leonard

    Jamie Collins my man. He’s the SOLB dreamboat and can plug into any LB position (can also rush as a DE on third downs). I’ve always seen Demario Davis as your standard run stuffing 4-3 Mike, if he’s anything at all.

  • Pat Leonard

    Is he ever going to be healthy again though? It seems like his body has turned against him.

  • mgbode

    I see Davis as a backup

    If Collins is SOLB, then we need a Mike (and not just in name, plenty of us floating around)

  • Jeremy Humbert

    I agree. Competition will definitely bring the best out if them. The cupboard was bare, now we have some mold spores in there… hopefully we will have a cupboard covered in mature mold after the next draft…

  • DoubleMeh

    Corey Coleman is a bust. The more the FO changes, the more stays the same.