Browns, Headlines, NFL Draft

2017 NFL Draft: Browns select RB Matthew Dayes with pick No. 252

The Cleveland Browns finished up their 2017 NFL Draft, by selecting running back Matthew Dayes of North Carolina State. They add their player of the draft, supplying more depth in their running back room. Running back is not a huge need with Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson already on the roster, but the Browns do need some depth at the position, so Dayes could be a good option to add just that. Here is the breakdown of the newest Browns running back from NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein:

STRENGTHS: Runs with patience and presses line of scrimmage to set up his cuts. Outstanding peripheral vision with ability to find back-side cuts. Sees to second level. Operates with controlled, choppy feet in tight quarters for maximum body control. Subtle wiggle on second and third level to create more yardage. Able to gear down and make the sharp, downhill cuts on stretch plays. Solid pass-catching option.

WEAKNESSES: Too small to be an every-down back. Runs with some hip tightness. Jump cuts and lateral escapability are below average. Doesn’t accelerate into contact and is too easily tripped by arm tackles. Missing necessary strength in lower body to break tackles and create through power. Averaged just 1.8 yards after initial contact over last two seasons. Lacks long speed to finish the breakaway run.

DRAFT PROJECTION: Rounds 5-6

SOURCES TELL US: “Dime-a-dozen running back. I’m not slamming him because those guys play in the league but he needs to find the right fit. He reminds me of Ronnie Hillman, but slower.” — Regional scout for AFC team

BOTTOM LINE: Tempo-based, one-cut running back with good vision but an inability to break tackles and run with power. Best on outside zone plays with an opportunity to find back-side cuts, but when he has to run between the tackles, he’s missing an aggressive burst. Potentially a committee running back with some third-down value if he can tighten up his pass blocking.

At North Carolina State, Dayes totaled 1,166 rushing yards and ten touchdowns on 249 carries, while also catching 32 passes for 271 yards. The Browns are familiar with Dayes after coaching him during the Senior Bowl, getting a close look at him the entire week of practice and in the game. He finishes off a very active three days for the Browns, selecting ten new players for the roster that needs plenty of help. With that, here are some highlights of Dayes:

  • Oh ! nice selection

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  • Pat Leonard

    Awesome work on this draft, Joe. You, Bode, and the rest of the crew did a fantastic job breaking down the players, the Browns’ options, and the results.

    Did anyone else get a vibe that the Browns’ front office didn’t have any real interest in anyone later in the draft? They kept spending picks to move up, they took a kicker (a move I liked, actually, but seems odd for an analytics-based approach), they took Caleb Brantley, who they’re prepared to lose if he ends up guilty, and they took a RB who is so mediocre that he has zero chance of making the roster and makes me wonder if they intentionally threw away that pick.

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