Cleveland Browns third-year running back Dion Lewis could have led the team’s rushing attack last season, but he unfortunately fractured his fibula in the preseason and was placed on the injured reserve list in order to preserve a roster spot, as opposed to waiting for an uncertain commodity at RB. I wonder if the Browns wished they kept him after dealing Trent Richardson for a first-round pick in a deal that worked out quite well, because the Browns were forced to live without a running game. With Terrance West, Ben Tate, and Isaiah Crowell on the roster, Lewis could find it very difficult to make a stamp on a crowded backfield.
Lewis left a crowded backfield with the Philadelphia Eagles via a trade, and it looked like a savvy move by the Browns front office to bring in the former Pittsburgh Panthers star, who was a top performer when given carries in both the preseason and regular season. Last year, I highlighted the 23-year-old as an underrated back with “feature back” potential for the Browns.
Now that the agile, possibly electrifying running back is back after suffering from two separate injuries (the latter has derailed his offseason workouts), Lewis is ready to compete against three talented backs, one of which- Tate- has had plenty of success in the NFL backing up Arian Foster.
He said, via the Akron Beacon Journal’s Nate Ulrich, “I don’t know,” Lewis said last month as mandatory minicamp wrapped up. “I’m still very excited to get back there and prove that I’m 100 percent recovered from the injury. With new coaches, everybody is learning a new system. So I feel like I’ve learned the system well, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and competing with the rest of the guys.”
Health is just one question Lewis will have to answer in 2014, and I hope he can find a chance to shine, even if it isn’t on the Browns roster. Although it’s a crowded backfield, there’s still room for Lewis to work his way to the top. It is a bit of an upfield battle, though, because Tate is established, the Browns seem to love West, and Crowell has plenty of raw talent.